Hurricane Ophelia heads to Newfoundland, Nova Scotia

The Canadian Hurricane Centre has issued a tropical storm watch for Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula, including St. John's, as Hurricane Ophelia spins north after bypassing Bermuda.
A tropical storm watch has been issued for Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula as Hurricane Ophelia continues its trek north. (Associated Press)

The Canadian Hurricane Centre has issued a tropical storm watch for Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, including St. John's, as Hurricane Ophelia spins north after bypassing Bermuda.

The hurricane centre warned Saturday of the possibility of tropical storm force winds of 60 gusting to 90 kilometres an hour as the storm tracks close to southeastern Newfoundland on Monday morning. The centre also said there could be torrential rains of up to 100 millimetres.

"The largest waves will affect Newfoundland," said Chris Fogarty, program supervisor with the centre, in a teleconference from Dartmouth, N.S. "[But] it's not expected to hit direct landfall."

Calling it a "strong, compact, intense storm," Fogarty said Ophelia could affect the eastern shores of Nova Scotia on Sunday evening before heading north to Newfoundland.

Ophelia will weaken once it enters the cooler waters off Canada, he added. It's currently a Category 4 storm, packing winds of 225 kilometres per hour.

While Fogarty spoke of possible local flooding in Newfoundland, the centre did not issue any official warnings connected to Ophelia.

At this time, another system separate from the hurricane is dumping rain in the central and eastern Maritimes, especially over Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Current warnings for Nova Scotia and P.E.I. concern heavy rainfall, as high as 80 mm, not connected to Ophelia.

On Friday, Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry warned those living in "vulnerable areas should be attentive and prepared for possible localized flooding."

Fogarty says those two systems are expected to join up on Sunday and by then, the centre will have a better idea of where the storm will be tracking and its force.

Ophelia caused flooding and cut off communities in the island of Dominica in the Caribbean.