Fiona hits Atlantic Canada: Storm hits north, power outages for hundreds of thousands

Fiona first wreaked havoc in the Caribbean as a hurricane before moving up the Atlantic and making landfall again as a later tropical cyclone.The storm tore a path of destruction Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland weakened and headed out to sea on Sunday.

Now, officials are starting to consider the damage done to the area.

Nova Scotia, where Fiona first made landfall, was hit hard by the storm early Saturday. Officials said strong winds knocked down trees and power lines, washed out roads and left communities littered with debris, and in many cases entire poles were snapped in half.

Governor Tim Houston said Sunday morning that officials are prioritizing restoring power after Fiona disrupted power lines and communications networks across the province.

“Clearing the roads and giving the crew space to do what needs to be done is the most important thing right now,” Houston said. “It takes time.”

Houston said there have not been many reports of serious injuries, although about 200 people are currently displaced.

“The damage is huge, but the priority right now is to get people back to power, get people back to safe havens, get some people back to normal,” he said. “It’s going to take time when we’re out of the woods.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday that the government approved Nova Scotia’s request for federal aid and will deploy the Canadian Armed Forces to help in the region. The prime minister said residents had a “terrible” 12 hours on Saturday.

“People are seeing their homes being washed away and seeing high winds knocking over school roofs,” Trudeau said. “As Canadians, as we always do in difficult times, we stand by each other.”

In Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, police shared images of down power lines above buildings, fallen trees blocking roads and puncturing buildings. The area’s utility, Marine Power, said it was concerned about people walking and driving on the streets, where power lines and potentially live lines could cause widespread damage.

Power outages in Nova Scotia

Several provinces were affected by high winds and heavy rain, but no more than Nova Scotia. About 350,000 customers in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick remained without power as of Sunday morning, including about 250,000 in Nova Scotia, according to

Houston said Saturday that nearly three-quarters of Nova Scotia was without power as Fiona moved forward. The province’s town of Alisag recorded peak gusts of 171 km/h (106 mph) on Saturday. Meanwhile, wind gusts of 170 km/h (105 mph) were recorded at Wreckhouse in Newfoundland.

Nova Scotia Power President and CEO Peter Gregg said Saturday that severe weather conditions have hampered power restoration efforts. More than 900 power technicians are on their way to the area, but some customers may experience power outages for several days, he said.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia’s capital, strong winds uprooted trees, downed power lines, sparked sparks and flickered lights.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage told CNN on Saturday that the roof of a Halifax apartment complex collapsed, forcing about 100 people to go to shelters.

“The intensity of this storm is breathtaking,” Savage later told a news conference Saturday. “It turns out that everything was as expected.”

Osborne Head in Nova Scotia received 192 mm (7.55 in) and Crowe Brook in New Brunswick received 107 mm (4.2 in), along with other heavy rainfall across the provinces.

“Total war zone,” said the mayor of Port aux Basques

A family battled strong winds Saturday from Tropical Storm Fiona in Basque Harbor, Newfoundland and Labrador.

In Newfoundland, video showed buildings floating in water and cars submerged in heavy rain. A woman was rescued from the water after her house collapsed, according to the RCMP. She was taken to hospital; the extent of her injuries is not yet known, police said.

The Basque port on the southwestern tip of Newfoundland was also one of the hardest-hit areas, Trudeau said Saturday.

'It's surreal': Atlantic Canada residents describe devastation as Fiona destroys homes and cuts power to thousands

“We are seeing devastating images from the Basque port,” he said. “Obviously, when we see images of houses falling into the sea, or images of waves destroying property and buildings, the first thing that comes to our mind should be people.”

First responders there are dealing with multiple electrical fires, residential floods and washouts.

“We have a full-scale war zone here, with devastation everywhere,” Basque Port Mayor Brian Barton said in a video update, warning that more storm surges were expected.

Port aux Basques is now under a boiling water order, and many residents remain without power. Concrete barriers were also placed around the area turned into a “hazard zone” by the storm, the mayor said.

According to the Canadian Hurricane Centre, the highest total water level recorded by the Basque Harbor tide gauge was 2.73 meters (8.96 feet), surpassing the previous record of 2.71 meters (8.89 feet) set in 2017.

CNN’s Derek Van Dam, Eric Levenson, Tina Burnside, Jason Hanna, Christina Maxouris, Hannah Sarisohn and Andy Rose contributed to this report.

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