Fiona hit Canada’s Atlantic coast, obliterating homes and knocking out power for thousands

Fiona hit Canada's Atlantic coast, obliterating homes and knocking out power for thousands
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Fiona, now a posttropical cyclone, continued to slowly weaken Saturday evening and overnight as it moved away from the coastal town of Channel-Port aux Basques, in Newfoundland and Labrador, where the storm left a trail of devastation. Some coastal houses in the area collapsed and several collapsed structures fell into the sea or were surrounded by floodwaters, according to pictures sent by the province on Saturday morning.
In Channel-Port aux Basques, houses were swept away, Mayor Brian Button said in a Facebook video on Saturday. Huge waves reaching the eastern shores of Nova Scotia and southwestern Newfoundland caused “severe coastal flooding” in the city, Canadian Hurricane Center said Saturday night.
Rene Roy, editor-in-chief of Wreckhouse Presslocal news publication, described a scene of carnage during the storm: uprooted trees, at least eight nearby homes destroyed by the powerful storm, floating shacks, a boat washed away by the oncoming water in the middle of a local playground.
“I lived through Hurricane Juan and it was a foggy day compared to this monster,” Roy, 50, told CNN. Hurricane Juan hit the Canadian coast as a Category 2 storm in 2003, downing power lines and trees and leaving extensive damage in its wake. “It’s surreal what’s happening here,” Roy added.

Roy told CNN that he had evacuated his home and was staying with a cousin on higher ground. He had no idea Saturday night if his home was still standing and emergency crews stopped him from getting there to check. It is not safe to do so, they warned.

Photos by another area resident, Terry Osmond, show a a collapsed building in Channel-Port aux Basques, surrounded by seawater on the shore, and broken wood and other debris were strewn across the town.

“Never in my lifetime” has there been “so much destruction … in our area,” Osmond, 62, wrote to CNN.

A city woman was rescued from water Saturday afternoon after her home collapsed, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said. She was taken to hospital; The extent of her injuries was not immediately known, police said.

About a 30-minute drive to the east, several buildings were blown up in the Newfoundland coastal community of Burnt Islands, video posted on Facebook by Pius Scott shown Houses – or parts of them – collapsed in heaps, and debris littered the land and seawater.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday afternoon that the government was assessing damage from the storm, but authorities had already begun helping affected communities, including approving Nova Scotia’s request for federal aid. The Canadian Armed Forces will also be deployed to the region to help with damage assessment and cleanup, Trudeau said.

Water surrounds a collapsed house in Channel-Port aux Basque, Newfoundland, on Saturday.

The devastation is “breathtaking,” the mayor says

Meanwhile, more than 400,000 customers in Atlantic Canada were left in the dark Saturday night, including more than 290,000 without power in Nova Scotia and more than 85,000 in Prince Edward Island, according to

Restoring power is among authorities’ top priorities, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said at a news conference Saturday, describing the “shocking” damage across the province, including communities where roads were washed away and power lines downed.

But weather conditions were still too severe in many areas Saturday night for crews to begin assessing and repairing damage, Nova Scotia Power president and CEO Peter Gregg said. More than 900 power technicians were en route to the area, but with parts of the province still experiencing storm conditions, Gregg added that some customers could experience power outages for several days.

A worker clears damage from fallen trees and downed power lines in Halifax on September 24, 2022.
The storm made landfall in the dark early Saturday as a powerful post-tropical cyclone in eastern Nova Scotia, between Canso and Guysborough, and passed over Cape Breton Island in the province. Authorities in the Cape Breton region have declared a state of emergency and asked people to shelter in place.
Saturday evening, Cape Breton Regional Municipality said continued telecommunications problems posed challenges and urged residents to stay in safe shelters as roads were littered with downed trees and power lines and it was not safe to travel. Emergency services are working to help residents who have been displaced, officials said.

West of the landfall, in Nova Scotia’s capital, Halifax, the roof of an apartment complex collapsed, forcing about 100 people into shelters, Mayor Mike Savage told CNN on Saturday.

“The scale of this storm is breathtaking,” Savage said later at Saturday’s press conference. “It turned out everything was planned.

Halifax officials said Saturday afternoon’s strong winds and risks of coastal flooding remained through the end of the day and urged residents to stay off the roads while cleanup efforts were underway.

In the capital of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, police tweeted photos of damage, including a collapsed ceiling on the home.

“Conditions are like nothing we’ve ever seen,” Charlottetown police tweeted early Saturday.

Georgina Scott surveys the damage on her street in Halifax on Saturday, September.  24, 2022

What could be next

On Saturday evening, Fiona continued to affect parts of Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec with strong winds and damaging storms, but conditions were expected to improve over Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island and later over Ile de la Madeleine and southwestern Newfoundland, the center of the hurricane said.

“Rough and pounding” surf continued for parts of Nova Scotia, the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence and Newfoundland, and coastal flooding is still a threat to areas of eastern Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, including Northumberland Sound, Ile de la Madeleine and southwestern Newfoundland, the center added.

“Coastal flooding is also possible for the mouth of St. Lawrence and the lower north shore of Quebec,” the release said.

A downed tree is seen on a road as Fiona hits Prince Edward Island on Saturday.

Hurricane-force and gale-force winds are expected to continue blowing across parts of Atlantic Canada into early Sunday, the US National Hurricane Center said Saturday night.

Saturday morning, hurricane gusts have been reported in parts of Maritime Canada, typically ranging from 70 to 95 mph (110 to more than 150 km/h). The highest gust by mid-morning was 111 mph (179 kmph) in Arisaig, Nova Scotia, according to Environment Canada.

Rainfall could reach up to 10 inches in some places and significant flooding is possible, they forecast said.
The storm has already killed at least five people and knocked out power for millions desolate islands in the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean earlier this week.
Workers lift downed wire to allow machines to reach fallen trees in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Saturday.
Fiona was a Category 4 storm early Wednesday over the Atlantic Ocean after crossing the Turks and Caicos and remained so until Friday afternoon when it weakened as it approached Canada. Got up posttropical before making landfall, meaning that instead of a warm core, the storm now has a cold core. This does not affect the storm’s ability to produce intense winds, rain and storm surge, it just means that the internal mechanics of the storm have changed.
Fiona had the potential to become Canada’s version Superstorm Sandy, said Chris Fogerty, manager of the Canadian Hurricane Center, before Fiona hit. Sandy in 2012 affected 24 states and the entire East Coast, causing an estimated $78.7 billion in damage.

An unofficial barometric pressure of 931.6 mb was recorded on Saturday on Hart Island, which would make Fiona the lowest-pressure storm to make landfall in Canada on record, according to the Canadian Hurricane Centre.

Alison Chinchar, Hannah Sarrison, Sharif Padgett, Derek Van Dam, Haley Brink, Aya Elamrousi, Taylor Ward, Teresa Waldrop and Tina Burnside contributed to this report from CNN.

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