- CBC News will provide special coverage of the arrival of Hurricane Fiona starting Friday at 8 p.m. AT on CBC Radio One with updates every hour, every hour, with Cassie Williams in Halifax until 10 p.m. and CBC PEI’s Wayne Thibodeau all night. We will also have digital updates throughout the weekend. A special extended version of Atlantic Tonight on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. will include full coverage of Hurricane Fiona and its aftermath across the region.
Environment Canada made it official early Friday: Hurricane Fiona will almost certainly hit Prince Edward Island as a storm with Category 1 winds and torrential rains.
This development has led the head of the Prince Edward Island Emergency Measures Organization to warn that the window for Islanders to take action to avoid major damage is shrinking.
“These are no longer potential impacts,” Tanya Mullaly said during an early afternoon briefing. “These are more certain impacts.”
She said people living in the North Shore area whose properties have experienced storm surges and flooding in the past should consider seeking higher ground if possible. And she said there’s a risk of north-facing windows sinking in or debris breaking them, which “isn’t something we’ve traditionally” had to worry about in Atlantic Canada.
Mullally said the province plans to set up an online and telephone reporting tool so that, starting Sunday, Islanders can report damage to critical infrastructure like roads and bridges. Blocked or damaged roads can be reported by dialing 511 or this numbersthe province said in a statement.
Environment Canada issued hurricane warnings around 4:30 a.m. DT for the province’s three counties and neighboring Iles-de-la-Madeleine, along with rain, wind and storm surge warnings. This will mean:
- Hurricane force winds of 100 km/h gusting to 140 km/h in exposed locations, pushing even higher up the coast with gusts of 160 km/h.
- A storm surge of 1.8 to 2.4 meters and dangerous waves ranging from 11 to 15 meters in height Saturday morning to coincide with the arrival of high tide.
- “Intense and torrential” rainfall totaling 50 to 100 mm, with some localities receiving 150 mm.
“Rain will become heavy later in the evening, with the heaviest rainfall occurring overnight and Saturday. has already fallen, with amounts of 150mm possible towards the path of the storm,” said CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland.
Rain will also be intense at times, with up to 10mm to 25mm falling per hour at the height of the storm.
“Based on the current track, a strong northerly wind will develop this evening, with potentially damaging gusts of 100-140 km/h or more possible overnight through Saturday morning,” he said. .
“These strong northerly winds will begin to gradually ease on Saturday afternoon, but will remain quite strong well into the early evening.”
A statement from Environment Canada issued at 8:40 a.m. TA gave more context on the erosion: “Western Gulf will see northerly waves up to 8 meters in places, likely to cause significant erosion of exposed beaches. north of Prince Edward Island. de-la-Madeleine will also see some coastal erosion due to waves.”
Kings County in the east is likely to receive the most rain, and Queens and Kings counties will see the strongest winds, Environment Canada said.
“Rainfall rates above 25mm per hour are possible from tonight and will continue through Saturday,” the agency said.
Winds in eastern Cape Breton and southwestern Newfoundland east of the eye are likely to produce gusts near Category 2 hurricane level at 160 km/h.
“Across PEI and parts of northern Nova Scotia, winds will be much colder and from the northwest and could be up to 140 or 150 km/h.”
Environment Canada has been candid about the possible impact.
“These winds could cause significant tree toppling and lead to prolonged utility outages. Damage to building sheathing and roofing materials is likely, including structural damage in some cases. Winds of this strength could break windows and tearing down large hanging road signs.”
The warning also said Fiona “will cause damage to quays and breakwaters. Significant shoreline erosion and large waves are expected where winds blow onshore”.
People who must venture outdoors during the storm are warned to watch out for windblown debris and downed power lines, among other hazards.
“Stay clear of shore – the combination of swell and large waves could lead to dangerous rip currents and the risk of being swept out to sea,” Environment Canada said.
No federal aid requested at this time
Fresh from a cabinet briefing on the storm, provincial Justice and Public Safety Minister Darlene Compton said it was too early to say whether PEI would seek help from the federal government for a cleanup.
“We will exhaust all of our resources in PEI. [before we] reaching out to our federal counterparts,” she told CBC News Network noon Friday.
“As Islanders, we unite,” she added. “This is not our first storm and it won’t be our last.”
His advice to locals: “Make sure you watch your neighbours, [see] they are safe or contact the province to make sure they get what they need.
Because of Fiona, the Confederation Bridge warns of travel restrictions, starting tonight around 9 p.m. and continuing until early Sunday morning.
Northumberland Ferries has canceled the 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. TA sailings from Wood Islands and the 1:30 p.m., 5:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. TA sailings from Caribou, Nova Scotia. All Saturday sailings are canceled and the company expects disruptions on Sunday as well.
So far, Air Canada has canceled one of its Friday flights to Charlottetown, AC1570 from Montreal, usually scheduled for 11:30 p.m. All Air Canada flights to and from Charlottetown scheduled for Saturday are cancelled, as well as the airline’s first flight on Sunday morning.
For more information on the disruptions announced due to the storm, click here: Hurricane Fiona: What’s open and closed in PEI.
According to the National Hurricane Center at 5:00 p.m. ADT, Hurricane Fiona was about 595 km south-southeast of Halifax with maximum sustained winds of 205 km/h and was a Category 3 storm.
Earlier Thursday, the storm swept through the Caribbean islands, causing severe flooding and killing at least eight people in Puerto Rico.