Ottawa [Canada], September 24 (ANI): Cyclone Fiona struck Maritime Canada early Saturday morning with hurricane-force winds, heavy rain and large surf. Cape Breton was among the areas expected to take the brunt of the storm.
Hurricane-force wind gusts have been reported across areas of the Maritimes in eastern Canada and range from 70 to 95 mph (110 to over 150 kph). Damaging winds are expected to continue through Saturday evening as Fiona moves north into the Gulf of St. Lawrence toward Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, reported CNN.
Fiona made landfall at around 4 am ET between Canso and Guysborough counties in eastern Nova Scotia, Canada, as a very strong post-tropical cyclone.
An unofficial barometric pressure of 931.6 mb was recorded at Hart Island, which would make this the lowest-pressure land-falling storm on record in Canada, according to a tweet by the Canadian Hurricane Centre. Wind observations on Beaver Island in eastern Nova Scotia were recorded at 94 mph (152 km/h), reported CNN.
Fiona is "on track to be an extreme weather event here in eastern Canada," forecasters with the Canadian Hurricane Centre said on Friday afternoon. Recent rainfalls have left the region saturated and Fiona could bring another one to two months' worth of rainfall.
Meanwhile, Fiona's sustained winds have dropped slightly to 80 mph, which is still equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center.
The center warns that "significant impacts from high winds, storm surge, and heavy rainfall are still expected" from the storm, now considered a post-tropical cyclone.
Fiona is currently in the Gulf of St Lawrence, roughly 100 miles (160 km) west-northwest of Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland, and is moving north toward Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. The highest recorded wind gust for Fiona so far is 111 mph (179 kph) in Arisaig, Nova Scotia, reported CNN.
"Fiona continues to produce hurricane-force winds, heavy rains, storm surge, and rough marine conditions across Atlantic Canada and the surrounding waters," the hurricane center said. "Surface observations suggest that the minimum pressure has been rising, and is not estimated to be about 945mb, which is still extraordinarily low."
In general, the lower the central pressure, the stronger the storm.
Fiona's forward speed has slowed to 25 mph, which is below average for this region; traditionally, a storm at this latitude has a forward speed around 32 mph. The hurricane center also cautions that large swells generated by Fiona are expected to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions along the northeast coast of the Northeast US, Bermuda and Atlantic Canada over the next few days.
The mayor of a town in Newfoundland urged residents to take caution and follow emergency orders as Fiona made landfall on Canada's Atlantic coast this morning, reported CNN.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage updated CNN on the damage that his city, the capital of Nova Scotia, has sustained due to Fiona.
"It's been a wild night. ... We've had hurricanes here in Nova Scotia and in Maritime Canada before, but this one is pretty bad. A lot of uprooted trees, power outages all over the place, and our bridges and our connections to transit are all closed out," he told CNN's Boris Sanchez.
"Here in Halifax, we're starting to see the end of the active part of this and we can start to do more damage assessment," he said.
There's some "severe damage for sure," he continued, as officials just found out about an apartment that had a roof collapse and needed to have 100 people evacuated.
Police in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, urged residents to stay off the roads as Fiona downed power lines and trees, reported CNN.
"Conditions are like nothing we've ever seen," authorities said in a series of tweets.
Fiona is now referred to as a post-tropical cyclone. According to forecasters, it could be one of the strongest storms that Canada has ever experienced.
The storm already killed at least five people and shut off power for millions this week as it battered multiple Caribbean islands, reported CNN. (ANI)