Leaving a battered Bermuda behind, Post-Tropical Cyclone Fiona churned north on Friday toward Canada’s Atlantic provinces, where officials were making emergency plans for powerful winds and heavy rain from the approaching storm.
Fiona, which forecasters late Friday downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone from a Category 3 hurricane, is the strongest storm of the Atlantic hurricane season so far. It was about 140 miles east of Halifax, Nova Scotia, at 11 p.m. Eastern time, the National Hurricane Center said. It was heading north at 46 miles per hour and producing maximum sustained winds of 105 m.p.h., the Hurricane Center said.According to the National Hurricane Center, a post-tropical cyclone no longer has the characteristics of a tropical cyclone but can still pack heavy rains and high winds. A hurricane warning was in effect for Nova Scotia and other parts of Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec, areas that the storm was expected to approach on Friday night. “This storm will be a severe event for Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec,” the Canadian government said in a statement.
Fiona is expected to bring heavy rainfall and powerful hurricane-force winds as it moves across Nova Scotia early Saturday morning before pushing into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. On Sunday, Fiona will bear down on Labrador and the Labrador Sea.
Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and western Newfoundland could receive three to six inches of rain, with up to 10 inches of rain and flooding possible in some areas, the Hurricane Center said.
Newfoundland and eastern Quebec could be doused with two to five inches of rain, while eastern New Brunswick was forecast to receive one to three inches.
Forecasters said on Friday that there was a substantial risk of rip currents along the entire East Coast of the United States because of the storm system.
Hurricane or tropical storm warnings from the Canadian government were in effect as of 3 a.m. Eastern time on Friday for parts of Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec. Officials said waves in some parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence could be as about 39 feet.
On Friday, emergency management officials in Nova Scotia warned residents of the danger of storm surges and shared locations of evacuation centers and shelters that would be open on Friday afternoon. The provincial government in Prince Edward Island issued warnings of flooding, downed trees, power outages and damage to docks and buildings.
In Bermuda, officials and residents were beginning to assess the storm’s impact. The island’s weather service said some areas had experienced hurricane-force winds early Friday, including a 100-m.p.h. gust on the western side of the island.
The national security minister, Michael Weeks, said Bermuda had downgraded its hurricane warning to a tropical storm warning, but he added that there were still hazardous winds.
Emergency crews were assessing roads, some of which were obstructed early on Friday. There were downed power lines and trees, but no reports of major property damage.
“The closest point of Fiona has passed us, and I think we have come through this here in pretty good shape,” Mr. Weeks, Bermuda’s minister of national security, said in a statement on Facebook on Friday.
As he tended to damage at one of his buildings, Jonathan Smith, an author and a former Bermuda police commissioner, said the island had avoided the worst of the storm.
“We were just at the fringe of sustained hurricane-force winds,” he said. “Had Hurricane Fiona tracked just 20 to 50 miles further east, this would have been a very destructive encounter.”
As of early Friday, more than 20,000 customers were without power across the island, according to Belco, Bermuda’s sole supplier of electricity. The company said on its website that its crews would not be able to restore power until storm conditions subsided. Public schools and government offices were closed on Friday.
Fiona, which formed as a tropical storm Sept. 15, has battered parts of the Caribbean in the past week, including Puerto Rico, which experienced widespread power outages. On Friday, nearly 860,000 customers 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, which was struck by the storm on Saturday.
Forecasters were monitoring three other weather systems in the Atlantic: Tropical Storm Gaston, which brought strong gales to the Azores in the North Atlantic on Friday, Tropical Storm Hermine, in the far Eastern Atlantic, and a tropical depression that seemed likely to strengthen and head toward Florida.
Gaston was 135 miles north-northwest of the Azores in the North Atlantic early Friday, with maximum sustained winds of 60 m.p.h. The storm’s center was expected to move near or over portions of the Azores from Friday night through Saturday, the Hurricane Center said. Gaston was forecast to begin to weaken over the next few days, though a tropical storm warning was in effect for parts of the Azores.
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 in early September 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.
In early August, 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.
The post Post-Tropical Cyclone Fiona Aims for Canada After Lashing Bermuda appeared first on New York Times.Last Update: Fri, 23 Sep 22 23:47:07