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Storm Fiona hits the east coast of Canada, cutting off electricity for many

Frances Broom, project manager for general contractor J&R Kelly, places sandbags around the doors of the Nova Scotia Energy Building before Hurricane Fiona arrives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on September 23, 2022. REUTERS/Ingrid Bulmer/File Photo

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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) – Powerful storm Fiona swept through eastern Canada on Saturday, bringing hurricane-force winds, downing trees and power lines and leaving hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without power.

The US National Hurricane Center said the center of the storm, now called Post-Tropical Hurricane Fiona, is now in the Gulf of St. Lawrence after racing through Nova Scotia. Reports of fallen trees and power lines have spread in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Fiona, which devastated parts of the Caribbean nearly a week ago, made landfall between Canso and Gisboro in Nova Scotia, where the Canadian Hurricane Center said it recorded what would have been the storm with the lowest land pressure in the country’s history.

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Utility companies said about 79% of customers, or 414,000, were without power in Nova Scotia, and 95%, or 82,000, lost electricity in Prince Edward Island. The area was also experiencing intermittent mobile phone service. Police across the area reported multiple road closures.

The storm weakened somewhat as it moved north. As of 8 a.m. (1200 GMT), it was over the Gulf of St. Lawrence about 200 miles (340 km) northeast of Halifax, had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph) and was moving north at about 23 mph. clock (37 mph). kph), the NHC said.

Experts expected strong winds, storms and torrential rain from Fiona. The commission said the storm is expected to weaken gradually, but hurricane-force winds are expected to continue into Saturday afternoon.

Fiona, previously classified as a hurricane, hit the Caribbean islands earlier in the week, killing at least eight people and causing power outages to nearly all of Puerto Rico’s 3.3 million residents during a severe heat wave. Nearly a million people remained without electricity after five days.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday postponed leaving Japan, where he was due to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to receive briefings and support the government’s emergency response, Press Secretary Cecily Roy said on Twitter.

The Miami-based NHC said a hurricane warning is in effect for most areas of central Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, home to more than 150,000 people, and parts of Newfoundland.

Canadian authorities have sent out emergency alerts in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, warning of severe flooding along the beaches and dangerous waves. People in coastal areas were advised to evacuate.

“We’ve had a few before, but they say this is going to be the biggest of them all,” said Chris McPhee, 53, of Sydney, Nova Scotia, who has been stocking up on groceries, batteries and candles. He said he was feeling “a bit nervous, I think”.

The storm could be more ferocious than the benchmarks for Hurricane Juan in 2003 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Bob Rubishod, a meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Center told a news briefing Friday.

The country’s two largest airlines, Air Canada and WestJet Airlines, suspended regional service from Friday evening.

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Reporting by Eric Martin in Halifax and John Morris in Stephenville; Additional reporting by Evlis Rivera in San Juan and Puerto Rico, Joby Babu in Bengaluru, Ismael Shakeel and Steve Shearer in Ottawa Writing by Steve Shearer and Danielle Trotta Editing by Jerry Doyle, Jane Merriman and Frances Kerry

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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