Fiona, a Category 3 hurricane, slammed into Bermuda with heavy rains and winds early Friday as it swept past the island on a route predicted to approach northeastern Canada late in the day as a still powerful storm.
The authorities in Bermuda opened shelters for Fiona and closed schools and offices. Prime Minister David Burt sent a tweet urging residents to “take care of yourself and your family. Let’s all remember to check and watch out for your seniors, family and neighbors.”
The Canadian Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch over vast coastal areas of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Fiona should hit the area as a “large and powerful hurricane-force post-tropical cyclone.”
“It’s going to be a storm that everyone will remember when it’s all said and done,” said Bob Robichaud, a preparedness meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Center.
Meanwhile, CBS News weather producer David Parkinson points to Tropical Depression 9, which he says got that label early Friday from the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. Parkinson says models show it moving over Cuba as what would be called Hurricane Hermene, then rapidly intensifying before making landfall on Florida’s Gulf coast probably mid-week, then perhaps crossing Florida and heading up the US East Coast. .
Early Friday, the system was located about 615 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.
The Hurricane Center says Hermene could end up as a strong Category 2 hurricane, meaning winds could be up to 110 mph.
The US Hurricane Center said Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph early Friday. It was centered about 255 miles northwest of Bermuda and 765 miles southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was moving north-northeast at high speed, before hurricane, 21 mph.
Hurricane-force winds extended outwards as far as 115 miles from the center and tropical gale force winds extended as far as 345 miles.
Fiona is responsible for at least five deaths so far – 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 primary source of energy. and become extratropical. But those cyclones can still have hurricane strength, albeit with a cold rather than warm core and no visible eye. Their shape can also be different. They lose their symmetrical shape and can look more like a comma.
Robichaud told a news conference that modeling predicted an “all-time” low pressure in the region, causing storm surges and rainfall of between 4 and 8 inches.
Amanda McDougall, mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said officials were preparing a shelter for people to enter before the storm arrived.
“We’ve seen events like this before, but I’m afraid, not to this extent,” she said. “The consequences will be great, real and immediate.”
Nova Scotia Power’s chief operating officer Dave Pickles said it expects widespread power outages.
Before reaching Bermuda, Fiona caused severeleading President Biden to say on Thursday that the full strength of the federal government is ready to help restore US territory.
During 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 scene in Puerto Rico, where Fiona caused an island-wide power outage.
More than 60% of power customers were without power on Thursday and a third of homes and businesses were without water, while local officials said they could not say when service would be fully restored.
On Friday, hundreds of people in Puerto Rico were left isolated by blocked roads five days after the hurricane crossed the island. Frustration increased for the likes of Nancy Galarza, who tried to call for help from work crews she saw in the distance.
“Everyone goes there,” she said, pointing to the crews at the bottom of the mountain helping others, also cut off by the storm. “No one comes here to see us. I’m concerned about all the elderly in this community.”
At least five landslides covered the narrow road to her community in the steep mountains surrounding the northern city of Caguas. The only way to reach the settlement was to climb over thick mounds of mud, rocks and rubble left behind by Fiona, whose floodwaters shook the foundations of nearby houses with an earthquake-like force.
At least eight of the 11 communities in Caguas were completely isolated, said Luis González, municipal inspector for recovery and reconstruction.
It was one of at least six municipalities where crews had yet to reach some areas. People there are often dependent on help from neighbors, as they did after Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm in 2017 that….