An unofficial atmospheric pressure of 931.6 megabytes was recorded on Hart Island, which would make Fiona the lowest landfall storm on record in Canada, according to the Canadian Hurricane Center. Wind observations were recorded on Beaver Island in eastern Nova Scotia at 94 mph (152 km/h).
Residents of New Brunswick, southern Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador also experience severe weather as Fiona tracks north at over 40 mph (65 km/h) after landing between Canso and Guysboro in eastern Nova Scotia. Fiona is expected to pass through Cape Breton Island on Saturday morning and reach the southeastern Labrador Sea by evening.
Fiona weakened slightly on Friday to a Category 2 storm but is still expected to bring devastating storms, heavy rain and strong winds. Fiona was a Category 4 storm early Wednesday over the Atlantic after passing the Turks and Caicos Islands and remained so until Friday afternoon.
Canada meteorologists said Friday that Fiona is on track to be an “extreme weather event” in eastern Canada, threatening to deliver the equivalent of two months of rain.
“This could be a historic event for Canada in terms of tropical cyclone intensity,” said Chris Fogarty, director of the Canadian Hurricane Center, and it could become Canada’s version of Superstorm Sandy. Sandy in 2012 affected 24 states and all of the East Coast, causing an estimated $78.7 billion in damage.
Fiona became post-tropical before making landfall, arriving at the same time with a basin of low pressure and cold air to the north — as did Sandy, according to Bob Rubishod of the Canadian Hurricane Center.
“What these things do, they tend to grow in size tremendously, which again is what Fiona does as well,” he said on Friday. “Sandy was expected to be bigger than Fiona. But the process is basically the same – you have two features that feed each other to create one powerful storm as we’ll see overnight and tomorrow.”
Hurricane-force winds can extend up to 185 miles from the center of Fiona and tropical storm winds up to 345 miles, according to CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam.
Officials say storm surge will be ‘big’
In the days leading up to Fiona’s expected arrival, officials ramped up services to help those in need and appealed to residents to be vigilant.
“It’s potentially very dangerous,” said John Loehr, the minister in charge of Nova Scotia’s Office of Emergency Management, on Thursday. “People are expected to feel the effects throughout the county.”
Loehr said residents should prepare for damaging winds, high waves, coastal storms and torrential rain, which could lead to prolonged power outages. Emergency officials encouraged people to secure outdoor materials, trim trees, charge cell phones, and set up a 72-hour emergency kit.
The area hasn’t experienced a storm of this intensity in nearly 50 years, according to Fogarty.
“Please take it seriously because we see the meteorological numbers in our weather maps that rarely appear here,” Fogarty said.
Prince Edward Island officials are also urging residents to prepare for the worst as the storm approaches.
Tania Mullally, who serves as the county’s emergency management chief, said one of the most pressing concerns with Fiona is the historic storm that is expected to unleash her.
Modeling from the Canadian Hurricane Center indicates that the increase “depending on region, it could be anywhere from 1.8 to 2.4 meters (6-8 feet),” Rubishod said.
Molly said the northern part of the island would bear the brunt of the storm due to the direction of the winds, which could potentially cause property damage and coastal flooding.
The Nova Scotia Office of Emergency Management said all regional campgrounds, beaches and day-use parks as well as Shubenacadie Wildlife Park closed Friday.
CNN’s Derek Van Damme, Halle Brink, Aya El Amrousy, Theresa Waldrop, and Christina Maxuris contributed to this report.
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