Power outages, flooding expected as Fiona stays on path to Atlantic Canada
Special weather statement issued for Prince Edward Island, just to west of storm track
As the forecast track of Hurricane Fiona moved a bit closer on Wednesday, and Environment Canada issued a special weather statement, Prince Edward Islanders were being urged to prepare for a major storm.
CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland says the storm will begin approaching Atlantic Canada south of Nova Scotia on Friday night, passing over eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton into early Saturday.
Though the forecast could still change if the hurricane's track veers away, Scotland said Islanders should brace for potentially destructive winds and heavy rain between Friday and Saturday.
"As it merges with an approaching cold front from the west, the hurricane will become a powerful post-tropical storm," Scotland said.
"This does not mean the storm will be weaker, it just means that the structure of the storm changes, similar to an intense Nor'easter but one full of tropical moisture — heavy rain — and tropical storm- to hurricane-strength wind."
Rain is expected to become heavier through the day on Friday, with the most intense rainfall happening overnight through Saturday morning in P.E.I.
Scotland said most of the Island could see between 50 to 100 millimetres of rain, with those areas closer to the storm's path just west of the track potentially getting between 100 and 150 millimetres — or even higher.
Wind gusts to 140 or higher?
A strong northerly wind is set to develop Friday night, with gust reaching between 100 and 140 kilometres per hour during the storm's peak around early Saturday.
"Islanders should be prepared for a prolonged period of heavy rain and tropical storm to hurricane force winds," Scotland said.
"With trees still in full leaf, Islanders should be prepared for widespread and potentially prolonged power outages. Finally, both coastal and inland flooding is possible due to heavy rain, elevated water levels and pounding surf. Washed out roads, flooded basements and damage to coastal areas is possible."
Environment Canada also used strong words in a midafternoon weater statement, saying: "This storm is shaping up to be a potentially severe event for Atlantic Canada.... Past storms of this nature have produced prolonged utility outages and structural damage. Buildings under construction will be particularly vulnerable."
Preparations well underway
P.E.I.'s Emergency Measures Organization was activated to Level 1 enhanced monitoring Wednesday, ahead of a 3 p.m. AT news conference to provide updates on Fiona's track and potential impacts to the Island.
EMO is encouraging Islanders to replenish supplies of their emergency preparedness kits, with food, water, heat and fuel supplies to sustain each household for up to five days.
Scotland said the impact of the hurricane is unclear, but that it is still time to prepare.
"There is still some uncertainty this far in advance. That being said, now is the time to secure loose outdoor objects around your home, clear downspouts and storm drains, and to make sure your emergency kit is fully stocked in case power is lost," he said.
With files from Jay Scotland