Post-Tropical Cyclone Fiona was bringing heavy rains and hurricane-force wind gusts to eastern Canada on Saturday after making landfall in Nova Scotia before dawn, forecasters said.
As of 8 a.m. Eastern, Fiona was about 200 miles northeast of Halifax and producing maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center in the United States. It was moving north at 23 m.p.h., and its center was over the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The storm had been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone from a Category 3 hurricane on Friday, but such storms can still be powerful and destructive.
More than 400,000 people were without power in Nova Scotia as of 9 a.m. on Saturday, according to Nova Scotia Power.
A patchwork of hurricane, wind and tropical storm warnings were in effect early Saturday across parts of Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec.
The Canadian government said, just before 9 a.m. Eastern, that parts of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island had already received nearly five inches of rain. And at 8 a.m., the U.S. hurricane center said flooding was expected there and in western Newfoundland, and predicted multiple inches of rain in Labrador and eastern Quebec.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada delayed a trip to Japan scheduled for Saturday because of the storm. “It’s going to be a bad one,” Mr. Trudeau said at a news conference on Friday.
The storm was expected to weaken later in the weekend, the Canadian Hurricane Center said in a separate advisory on Saturday morning.
Fiona was forecast to bear down on Labrador and the Labrador Sea on Sunday. A storm surge was expected in parts of Nova Scotia, western Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Forecasters were also monitoring three other weather systems in the Atlantic on Saturday, including Tropical Storm Ian, which could threaten Florida as a major hurricane early next week. It was about 300 miles south-southeast of Jamaica’s capital early Saturday, and it was expected to strengthen over the central Caribbean Sea.
In Bermuda on Friday, officials and residents were beginning to assess Fiona’s impact. The island’s weather service said some areas had experienced hurricane-force winds, including a 100-m.p.h. gust on the western side of the island.
As of Saturday morning, nearly 8,000 people were without power across the island, according to Belco, Bermuda’s sole supplier of electricity.
Jonathan Smith, an author and a former Bermuda police commissioner, said that the island had avoided the worst of the storm.
“We were just at the fringe of sustained hurricane-force winds,” he said as he tended to damage at one of his buildings. “Had Hurricane Fiona tracked just 20 to 50 miles further east, this would have been a very destructive encounter.”
Fiona, which formed as a tropical storm on Sept. 15, has battered parts of the Caribbean in the past week, including Puerto Rico, which experienced widespread power outages. On Saturday morning, more than 780,000 people in Puerto Rico were still without electricity, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks interruptions.
At least four deaths have been attributed to Fiona: two in the Dominican Republic and one each in Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe, where the storm hit last Saturday.
The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through November, had a relatively quiet start, with only three named storms before Sept. 1 and none during August, the first time that had happened since 1997. Storm activity picked up early this month with Danielle and Earl, which formed within a day of each other.
The links between hurricanes and climate change have become clearer with each passing year. Data shows that hurricanes have become stronger worldwide over the past four decades. A warming planet can expect stronger hurricanes over time and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms — though the overall number of storms may drop, because factors like stronger wind shear could keep some weaker storms from forming.
Hurricanes are also becoming wetter because there is more water vapor in the warmer atmosphere; storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 produced far more rain than they would have without human effects on the climate, scientists have suggested. Also, rising sea levels are contributing to higher storm surges, the most destructive elements of tropical cyclones.
Early last month, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued an updated forecast for the rest of the season which still predicted an above-normal level of activity.
In it, they said that the season could include 14 to 20 named storms, with six to 10 turning into hurricanes that could sustain winds of at least 74 m.p.h. Three to five of those could strengthen into what the agency calls major hurricanes — Category 3 or stronger — with winds of at least 111 m.p.h.
Last year, there were 21 named storms, after a record-breaking 30 in 2020. For the past two years, meteorologists have exhausted the list of names used to identify storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, an occurrence that had happened only one other time, in 2005.
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