Hurricane Fiona brought heavy rain and strong winds to Bermuda, but the island in the North Atlantic largely survived the storm and was now moving towards eastern Canada, where it is expected to be one of the worst in the country’s history.
Overnight, Storm Bermuda approached as a Category 4 monster hurricane, but dropped by one level to Category 3 as it passed far west of British territory, which is 1,126 km (700 miles) off the US state of North Carolina.
Nevertheless, the gusts reached up to 165 km per hour (103 mph) with sustained winds of up to 128 km/h (80 mph), the Bermuda weather service said in a bulletin.
Bermuda Electric Light Co, the island’s only electricity provider, stated that approximately 29,000 customers, or more than 80 percent of their customer base, had no electricity on Friday morning.
Michelle Pitcher, the deputy director of Bermuda Weather Service, said the area appeared largely unscathed.
“It’s been a long night but there are no reports of injuries or deaths,” she said. “There may be people with roof damage, but we haven’t heard of anything bad so far. As I said, we build our houses strong.”
The latest forecasts show that Fiona will make his next landing on Cape Breton Island, home to approximately 135,000 people in Canada’s eastern province of Nova Scotia, Environment Canada said on Friday.
A hurricane warning was in effect for most of Central and Eastern Nova Scotia as well as for Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The eye will move over Nova Scotia later on Friday, into the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Saturday and across Labrador on Sunday.
Forecasters say areas near his path could get up to 200 mm (8 inches) of rain, while winds could damage buildings and cause power outages, with storm surges flooding the coasts. The country’s two largest airlines, Air Canada and WestJet Airlines, will suspend flights in the region from Friday evening.
Fiona is becoming one of the strongest hurricanes in decades, comparable to Juan in 2003 and Dorian in 2017.
“Many of the computer forecasting models suggest that this could set a record for the lowest observed atmospheric pressure in Atlantic Canada,” said David Neil, meteorologist from Environment Canada. “So this certainly has the chance to become a very, very intense storm and a potential record setter.”
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico continues to deal with widespread power outages after Fiona, which was blamed for eight deaths on the island and brought heavy rains that cut off hundreds of residents from much-needed supplies.
A growing number of businesses, including grocery stores and gas stations, are temporarily closing across US territory as outages drag on, sparking concerns about the availability of fuel and basic goods.
Handwritten signs warning of closures appeared more frequently, causing customers to sigh and groan on an island where 62 percent of 1.47 million customers still have no power more than four days after the hurricane hit.
Betty Merced, a pensioner who lives in the southern coastal town of Salinas, said she spent several days searching in vain for diesel to fill her generator. She uses a sleep apnea device and can’t risk giving up on it.
“There are lots of people with lots of needs,” she said. “If there is no diesel, we are in great danger.”