Hurricane warnings issued for PEI as Fiona expected to cause major damage

  • CBC News will have special coverage of the arrival of Hurricane Fiona starting Friday at 8 p.m. on CBC Radio One with hourly updates, 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.

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 rain.

The weather bureau posted hurricane warnings for all three counties, as well as rain, wind and storm surge warnings.

That will mean:

  • Hurricane winds of 100 km/h with gusts of up to 140 km/h in unprotected locations, pushing even higher on the coast with gusts of 160 km/h.
  • A storm surge of 1.8 to 2.4 meters and dangerous waves of 11 to 15 meters high on Saturday morning that coincide with the arrival of high tide.
  • “Intense and heavy” rainfall totaling 50 to 100mm, possibly 150mm in some locations.

“The amounts of rain will be enormous,” CBC meteorologist Tina Simpkin said Friday morning. “A storm surge barrier is also going to be a big problem and you can bet Fiona is going to change the look of the coastline.

An Environment Canada statement issued at 8:40 a.m. AT gave more erosion context: “The western Gulf will see waves from the north up to 8 meters in places, which is likely to cause significant erosion to the north-facing beaches of Prince Edward Island. -la-Madeleine will also see some coastal erosion from waves.”

Kings County to the east is likely to receive the most rain, and Queens and Kings counties will experience the worst winds, Environment Canada said.

“Rain rates in excess of 25mm per hour are possible from tonight and will continue through Saturday,” the agency said.

How to prepare for a storm like Fiona

Officials are urging people in Atlantic Canada on the path of Hurricane Fiona to make emergency preparations, including having enough food and water for several days.

Winds in eastern Cape Breton and southwestern Newfoundland east of the eye are likely to get gusts near Category 2 hurricane level, which is 160 km/h.

“Over PEI and parts of northern Nova Scotia, winds will be much colder coming from the northwest and gusts can go up to 140 or 150 km/h.”

Environment Canada was blunt about the potential impact.

“These winds can cause significant tree falls and lead to long-term utility outages. Damage to building cladding and roofing is likely, including structural damage in certain cases. Winds of this magnitude can cause windows to break and major highway signs above the highway. tear off.”

A woman in a blue shirt sits in front of a microphone.
Darlene Compton, the county’s Secretary of Justice and Public Safety, will be part of the daily briefings about Fiona before and after the storm. (PEI Province)

The warning also said Fiona “will result in damage to docks and breakwaters. Significant coastal erosion and large waves are expected where winds blow ashore.”

People who must venture outside during the storm are being warned to watch out for wind-blown debris and downed power lines, among other risks.

“Stay away from shore – the combination of swell and large waves can lead to dangerous rip currents and the risk of being pulled out to sea,” Environment Canada said.

No federal aid requested yet

Fresh off a cabinet briefing on the storm, provincial Justice and Public Safety Secretary Darlene Compton said it’s too early to talk about whether PEI will seek federal assistance for a cleanup.

“We will exhaust all our resources in PEI [before we] contact our federal counterparts,” she told CBC News Network Friday afternoon.

A map from Environment Canada showing hurricane-force winds stretching across Prince Edward Island on Saturday at 3 a.m. AT. (Environment Canada)

“As islanders, we form a bond,” she added. “This isn’t our first storm and it won’t be our last.”

Her advice to residents: “Check with your neighbors, [see] that they are safe or contact the county to make sure they get what they need.”

Friday again not indicative of strength

A damp and windy day dawned on Friday, with Tanya Mullally of the county’s emergency response organization warning islanders not to lose vigil, thinking Fiona’s arrival will be mild.

‘You will see rain and wind. That’s not quite Fiona,’ she said.

You will see rain and wind. That’s not quite Fiona yet.— Tanya Mullally

“We’re going to experience a low system moving a little bit through Canada into Atlantic Canada and that’s basically what sucks Fiona in over the Maritimes and into PEI

“Fiona won’t be felt, if I could say so, until later on Friday evenings and into the night.”

As of noon AT, Fiona was a Category 4 storm raging northwest of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 215 mph, after causing severe flooding in the Caribbean islands, affecting at least eight people in Puerto Rico and killed.

Travel Effects

Because of Fiona, the Confederation Bridge is warning of travel restrictions, which begin tonight around 9 p.m. and last until early Sunday morning.

Northumberland Ferries has canceled the AT departures at 3:30, 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm from Wood Islands and the AT sailings at 1:30 pm, 5:15 pm and 6:30 pm from Caribou, NS. All Saturday crossings have been canceled and the company expects disruption on Sunday as well.

Long lines lined up outside Island Waste Watch in Charlottetown on Thursday as people rushed to drop off unwanted items from around their properties ahead of weekend winds that could turn them into projectiles. (CBC)

So far, Air Canada has canceled one of its Friday flights to Charlottetown, AC1570 from Montreal, which is normally expected at 11:30 PM. All Air Canada flights to and from Charlottetown scheduled for Saturday have been canceled, as has the airline’s first flight on Sunday morning.

For more information on what disruptions are being announced as a result of the storm, click here: Hurricane Fiona: What’s Open and Closed on PEI

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