Hurricane Fiona pounding Bermuda before setting sights on Canada

23 September 2022

Fiona, a Category 3 hurricane, pounded Bermuda with heavy rains and winds early Friday as it swept by the island on a route forecast to have it approaching northeastern Canada late in the day as a still-powerful storm.

Authorities in Bermuda opened shelters and closed schools and offices ahead of Fiona. Premier David Burt sent a tweet urging residents to “take care of yourself and your family. Let’s all remember to check on as well as look out for your seniors, family and neighbors.”

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Hurricane Fiona is seen in a satellite image off the U.S. East Coast as it hit Bermuda hard early on Sept. 23, 2022.

NOAA

The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued a hurricane watch over extensive coastal expanses of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Fiona should reach the area as a “large and powerful post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds.”

“It’s going to be a storm that everyone remembers when it is all said and done,” said Bob Robichaud, warning preparedness meteorologist for the Canadian Hurricane Centre.

Meanwhile, CBS News weather producer David Parkinson is pointing to Tropical Depression 9, which he says was given that tag early Friday by the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. Parkinson says models show it moving over Cuba as what would be named Hurricane Hermene, then rapidly intensifying before making landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast, likely mid-week, then perhaps crossing Florida and heading up the U.S. East Coast.

Early Friday, the system was some 615 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.

The hurricane center says Hermene could wind up as a strong Category 2 hurricane, meaning its winds would be up to 110 mph.

The U.S. hurricane center said Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph early Friday. It was centered about 155 miles northwest of Bermuda and 765 miles south-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was heading north-northeast at speedy, for  hurricane, 21 mph.

Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 115 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 345 miles.

Fiona so far has been blamed for at least five deaths – two in Puerto Rico, two in the Dominican Republic and one on the French island of Guadeloupe.

Hurricanes in Canada are somewhat rare, in part because once the storms reach colder waters, they lose their main source of energy. and become extratropical. But those cyclones still can have hurricane-strength winds, though with a cold instead of a warm core and no visible eye. Their shape can be different, too. They lose their symmetric form and can more resemble a comma.

Robichaud told a news conference that modelling projected “all-time” low pressure across the region, which would bring storm surges and rainfall of between 4 to 8 inches.

Amanda McDougall, mayor of Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said officials were preparing a shelter for people to enter before the storm arrived.

“We have been through these types of events before, but my fear is, not to this extent,” she said. “The impacts are going to be large, real and immediate.”

Dave Pickles, chief operating officer of Nova Scotia Power, said it expected widespread power outages.

Before reaching Bermuda, Fiona caused severe flooding and devastation in Puerto Rico, leading President Biden to say Thursday that the full force of the federal government is ready to help the U.S. territory recover.

Speaking at a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials in New York, Mr. Biden said, “We’re all in this together.”

He noted that hundreds of FEMA and other federal officials are already on the ground in Puerto Rico, where Fiona caused an island-wide blackout.

More than 60% of power customers remained without energy Thursday and a third of homes and businesses were without water, while local officials said they couldn’t say when service would be fully restored.

As of Friday, hundreds of people in Puerto Rico remained isolated by blocked roads five days after the hurricane ripped into the island. Frustration was mounting for people like Nancy Galarza, who tried to signal for help from work crews she spotted in the distance.

“Everyone goes over there,” she said pointing toward crews at the bottom of the mountain who were helping others also cut off by the storm. “No one comes here to see us. I am worried for all the elderly people in this community.”

At least five landslides covered the narrow road to her community in the steep mountains around the northern town of Caguas. The only way to reach the settlement was to climb over thick mounds of mud, rock and debris left by Fiona, whose floodwaters shook the foundations of nearby homes with earthquake-like force.

At least eight of the 11 communities in Caguas were completely isolated, said Luis González, municipal inspector of recovery and reconstruction.

It was one of at least six municipalities where crews had yet to reach some areas. People there often depend on help from neighbors, as they did following Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm in 2017 that killed nearly 3,000 people.

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Author: CBS Minnesota

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