By ROB GILLIES and DÁNICA COTO
CAGUAS, Puerto Rico (AP) — A hurricane expected to transform into a huge post-tropical storm will bring hurricane-strength wind, heavy rain and big waves to Atlantic Canada, meteorologists said Friday in warning that it has the potential to be one of the most severe storms in the country’s history.
Hurricane Fiona, which had weakened a bit to a Category 3 storm, was forecast to make landfall Saturday morning.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued a hurricane watch over extensive coastal expanses of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Fiona should reach the area as a “large and powerful post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds.”
“This is is definitely going to be one of, if not the most powerful, tropical cyclones to affect our part of the country,” said Ian Hubbard, meteorologist for the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. “It’s going to be definitely as severe and as bad as any I’ve seen.”
Fiona was a Category 4 hurricane when it pounded Bermuda with heavy rains and winds earlier Friday as it swept by the island on a route heading for northeastern Canada. Authorities in Bermuda opened shelters and closed schools and offices ahead of Fiona. Michael Weeks, the national security minister, said there had been no reports of major damage.
The U.S. center said Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph) late Friday afternoon. It was centered about 370 miles (595 kilometers) south-southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, heading northeast at 40 mph (65 kph).
Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 115 miles (185 kilometers) from the center and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 345 miles (555 kilometers).
Hubbard said the storm was weakening as it moved over cooler water and he felt it highly unlikely it would reach land with hurricane strength. Hurricanes in Canada are somewhat rare, in part because once the storms reach colder waters, they lose their main source of energy. and become extratropical. But those cyclones still can have hurricane-strength winds, though with a cold instead of a warm core and no visible eye. Their shape can be different, too. They lose their symmetric form and can more resemble a comma.
Bob Robichaud, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist for the Canadian Hurricane Centre, said the center of the storm was expected to arrive in Nova Scotia on Saturday morning, but its winds and rains would arrive late Friday.
“It’s going to a bad one,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “We of course hope there won’t be much needed, but we feel there probably will be. And we will be there for that. In the meantime we encourage everyone to stay safe and to listen to the instructions of local authorities and hang in there for the next 24 hours.”
Officials in Prince Edward Island sent an emergency alert warning of severe flooding along the northern shore of the province. “Immediate efforts should be taken to protect belongings. Avoid shorelines, waves are extremely dangerous. Residents in those regions should be prepared …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News
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