December 5, 2022
Posted: September 21, 2022 12:44 pm
Atlantic Canada Forecast to See Significant Impacts from Hurricane Fiona
Hurricane Fiona is now a monster Category 4 storm as it continues to move to the north through the Caribbean on Wednesday. Fiona has left a path of destruction in its wake after slamming into Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Turks and Caicos. Where is Fiona headed next?
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Fiona is packing sustained winds as high as 130 mph with gusts reaching a top speed of 155 mph. The storm is forecast to continue to strengthen as it moves off shore of the Turks and Caicos and back into the warm ocean waters of the Atlantic. Fiona is currently located about 675 miles southwest of Bermuda as it crawls along at a speed of just 8 mph.
Forecasters are predicting that Fiona will stay on a northward course through Wednesday, however, it will turn toward the northeast as it gets closer to Bermuda. The Bermuda Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning for the region in response to the projected track. The center of the storm is expected to pass about 150 to 200 miles west of Bermuda, sparing the group of islands a direct hit.
However, the storm will likely deliver tropical storm conditions to Bermuda by the end of the week because it is continuing to grow in size. Bermuda is expected to begin seeing the full imputes of this weather maker by late Thursday and into Friday.
The U.S. State Department also responded to the incoming storm by urging its citizens to reconsider traveling to Bermuda this week. The department additionally authorized the family members of government personnel stationed on the island to leave the area.
While the current path shows that Bermuda will escape with mere tropical storm conditions, hurricane experts warn that the track could shift farther to the east, putting Bermuda in a more dangerous situation. Regardless of how close the storm actually comes to land, Bermuda is forecast to see flooding as a result of the heavy rain associated with the outer bands of this system.
Atlantic Canada is also on alert for the effects of Hurricane Fiona. Although the storm will lose its status of a major hurricane by the time that it arrives into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the area will still experience significant impacts.
Because the coastline of Atlantic Canada juts out so far to the east, it is often in the line of fire for hurricanes. However, these storms tend to die out quickly when they move into the colder waters of the region. Unfortunately, sea-surface temperatures are running about 10 – 20 degrees above average in the North Atlantic this year, meaning that the hurricane may take longer to weaken.
Meteorologists say that a dip in the jet stream located across eastern Canada will make way for Fiona to move into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, across western Newfoundland, and even into northern Nova Scotia by Friday night. If the storm does indeed move into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, residents need to be ready for large amounts of coastal flooding and significant disruptions to maritime and shipping operations.
The high winds that are accompanying Fiona could also trigger widespread power outages and storm surge. Ocean swells could reach a height of 40 feet or higher in an area just south of Newfoundland.
The heaviest amount of rainfall is expected to fall to the west and the north of the center of the storm. Meanwhile, the most damaging winds will likely whip to the east of the track. This means that St. John’s in eastern Newfoundland could bear the brunt of the damaging winds. The winds are forecast to be enough to cause power outages and coastal flooding.
Halifax, Nova Scotia is also in the path of potentially heavy rain. Residents of Cape Breton should also start making preparations in advance of the storm.
Even though Fiona is not done yet, the residents of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are beginning the arduous cleanup process. An island-wide blackout left all of Puerto Rico’s 3.1 million residents in the dark on Sunday. Only a small handful of these customers have seen the power come back on since that time. Officials estimate that only about 75% of the island is back on the grid as of Wednesday afternoon.
The island is also lacking access to clean water. According to Puerto Rico’s water utility officials, approximately 60% of the island’s residents are without water access. Mudslides and flooded roads are hindering the ability of emergency crews to restore power and water. These conditions are also making it difficult to ferry supplies to the remote areas of the country that need the provisions the most.
The arrival of Fiona was a disastrous setback for Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory that is still recovering from the wrath of Hurricane Maria five years ago.
The Dominican Republic is also suffering from the blows of Fiona. As of late Tuesday, almost 2 million customers were without power. The island saw over 600 homes destroyed after the storm roared through on Monday.
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