Hurricane Fiona expected to impact Atlantic Canada

Hurricane Fiona intensified rapidly from a Category 1 to a Category 3 hurricane as it moved towards the Turks and Caicos Islands Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning, with maximum sustained winds near the eye of 185 kilometers per hour.

Fiona

Hurricane Fiona is currently a Category 3 hurricane bringing hurricane conditions to parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands as it continues to move northward.

TRACK

The hurricane is forecast to move north into an area of ​​favorable ocean water temperatures and atmospheric conditions allowing it to become a Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds near 220 kilometers per hour as it passes west of Bermuda late Thursday. While a direct hit to Bermuda is not forecast, the island is still being advised to monitor the progress of the hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center then brings Fiona as a Category 3 hurricane into the Scotia Slopes marine area south of Sable Island Friday night. Fiona is then forecast to approach eastern Nova Scotia as a Category 2 hurricane Saturday morning.

The forecast cone — or the area the center of the storm is expected to take a path through — still encompasses a large area of ​​Atlantic Canada, stretching from Halifax on the western side, to the Burin Peninsula in Newfoundland on the eastern side. The cone does not predict the entire area to be impacted by the storm nor the intensity of those impacts.

Fiona track

Hurricane Fiona is forecast to enter the Atlantic Canada region as a Category 2 hurricane transitioning to a powerful post-tropical storm late Friday into Saturday.

POST-TROPICAL TRANSITION

Regardless of the approach intensity and track of the hurricane, it is expected to undergo a post-tropical transition as it passes through Atlantic Canada.

This starts as the hurricane interacts with a weather front (cold front) on Friday and continues into the weekend. There will be a number of changes to the storm as a result including:

  1. An increase in speed northwards. Fiona will cover as much or more distance between Friday morning and Saturday as it will between Tuesday morning and Friday morning.

  2. An increase in the size of the storm. Fiona will take on a more stretched, asymmetrical appearance and cover a larger area.

  3. The intensity of rain and wind diffuses away from the center of the storm but impacts a wider area. This means that heavy rain and high winds may be experienced further out from the center of Fiona.

Transition

As Fiona undergoes post-tropical transition, it will go from symmetrical with intense conditions near the center (left) to asymmetrical, larger and with more diffused rain and wind (right).

ALERTS ISSUED

Environment Canada and the Canadian Hurricane Center posted a Tropical Cyclone Information Statement for Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, eastern New Brunswick, and all but the southwest of Nova Scotia Tuesday morning. They state that they are monitoring the hurricane, that the storm will become quite large and impact a broad area, and that the Canadian Hurricane Center will begin six-hourly bulletin updates Tuesday night or early Wednesday.

alerts

An initial tropical weather statement was issued by the Canadian Hurricane Center Tuesday morning.

THE MARITIMES

While this storm will be large with broad impacts, we still need to narrow down the approach it will take through the region. A move towards Newfoundland will lessen the intensity of the impacts for the Maritimes, while a pass near or through Cape Breton would increase them. That will be narrowed considerably over the next few days.

The National Hurricane Center is giving a moderate-to-high probability of eastern PEI and eastern Nova Scotia getting into tropical storm force winds (one minute sustained wind of 63+ kilometers per hour, stronger gusts) Friday night into Saturday morning. That said, the entirety of the Maritimes should be checking in on the forecast for the storm daily.

Some initial preparation for a high wind, heavy rain event would be appropriate. Things like checking the working condition of generators and sump pumps, and making sure property drainage is free and clear of debris.

Tropical wind

The probability of eastern parts of the Maritimes experiencing tropical storm force winds Friday night into Saturday has increased.

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