By Don Burgess and Ismail Shakil
HAMILTON, Bermuda, September 23 (Reuters) – Hurricane Fiona dreversed Bermuda with heavy rain and shook the island from the Atlantic with hurricane force winds over Friday as he followednotnorth to Nova Scotia, where he threatens to become one of the the strongest storms in Canadaa the story.
Fiona has already battered a string of Caribbean islands earlier in the week, killing at least eight people and knocking out power for nearly all of Puerto Rico’s 3.3 million people during a sweltering heat wave .
Jhe storm rounded Bermuda as a monster Category 4 storm but decreased in power to Category 3 as it passed well west of British territory, which is 700 miles from the state North Carolina American. Still, gusts reached 103 mph overnight, with sustained winds of up to 80 mph, the Bermuda Weather Service said in a bulletin.
The Bermuda Electric Light Co, the island’s sole power provider, said about 25,000 customers, or more than 60% of its customer base, had no power as of Friday.
With the storm still hitting the island with rain and high winds, all government offices and schools were closed on Friday.
While there were no additional damage assessments or casualty reports, Bermudians appeared to be well prepared for the storm, which devastated Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic earlier in the week.
across the island, evacuated residents debris detached from the yards and ready to close the storm shutters. Many homes are built with small shuttered windows, slate roofs, and limestone blocks to withstand frequent hurricanes.
“I’m taking every precaution to stay safe,” said Dean Williams, a resident of the capital Hamilton, said Thursday. “Preparation is key because at its highest intensity we can’t do anything but wait.”
As of 8 a.m. Eastern Time, Hurricane Fiona was about 125 miles (200 km) north of Bermuda and about 730 miles (1,175 km) south of Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia. , moving north-northeast at 25 mph (41 km/h). As a Category 3 hurricane, it carried maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (205 km/h), the US National Hurricane Center said.
This storm is expected to bring hurricane-force winds and torrential rains to the Atlantic provinces and eastern Quebec from Friday afternoon through Saturday.
A hurricane warning was in effect for most of central and eastern Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, the US National Hurricane Center said. The eye will move across Nova Scotia later on Friday, the NHC said, and into the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Saturday and over Labrador on Sunday.
Fiona is shaping up to be the most powerful storm to reach Canada since Dorian made landfall at west of Halifax in September 2019, Environment Canada’s government website said.
Like Dorian, Fiona could upgrade to a post-tropical storm, but Dorian was still carrying Category 2 intensity, with sustained winds of 96 mph (155 kph). It toppled century-old trees and caused a major power outage.
And Fiona could pour more rain. Forecasters say areas close to its path could receive up to 200mm of rain, while winds could damage buildings and cause power outages, with storm surges overwhelming coastlines.
The hurricane has already shown its devastating force in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands, killing at least four people in Puerto Rico, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency said.
US President Joe Biden, during a briefing in New York, said the federal government would fund debris removal, restoration of electricity and water as good as shelter and food for the next month.
An estimated one million homes and businesses were left without power across the US on Thursday after Fiona struck on Sunday, as people were suffocating in the heat and humidity.
Loumarie Rosa, a 26-year-old assistant at a chiropractic clinic, said there was no gas for her generator in her hometown of Hatillo.
“It’s like the earth is on fire,” she said. “We can’t even turn on a fan.”
(Reporting by Don Burgess in Hamilton and Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; Additional reporting by Ivelissa Rivera in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Rich McKay in Atlanta and Frank McGurty in New York; Writing by Jonathan Allen and Daniel Trotta; Editing by Mark Porter)
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