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Why Hurricane Fiona is likely to make Canadian weather history

The storm is expected to become very dangerous as the hurricane’s warm air mixes with cold air to create a superstorm

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This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Fiona in the Atlantic Ocean near Bermuda, moving north.

This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Fiona in the Atlantic Ocean near Bermuda, moving north on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. Fiona, which struck Puerto Rico as a Category 1 hurricane, was up to a Category 4 on Thursday.

NOAA via Associated Press

Officials and residents in Atlantic Canada are bracing for the potentially catastrophic arrival of Hurricane Fiona amid predictions that it could turn out to be “their Hurricane Sandy.” Expectations are that the hurricane will mix with the cold weather and jet stream further north and become a “superstorm,” a mix of a strong hurricane and a strong cyclone, bringing heavy rain and high waves.

CNN said Thursday that “Canadians are bracing for what could be the strongest storm to ever hit their country’s coast,” just days after the hurricane ripped through the Caribbean. Fiona in less than a week has killed at least five, seriously damaged parts of Puerto Rico and knocked out the power grid there, slammed the Dominican Republic, hurting its infrastructure, bruised Bermuda with heavy rain and is poised to seriously batter Nova Scotia.

In a televised warning, John Lohr, the minister responsible for the provincial Emergency Management Office, told Nova Scotians, “All questions have been removed as to whether this storm will happen. We are now certain.” He said impacts are expected across the province and it could be very dangerous.

Per CNN, “This could be Canada’s version of (Hurricane) Sandy,” said Chris Fogarty, a meteorologist for Canada’s hurricane center, pointing to the size and intensity of Fiona and its combination of hurricane and winter-storm characteristics. Hurricane Sandy affected 24 states and all of the Eastern Seaboard, causing an estimated $78.7 billion in damage.”

Added Fogarty, “Please take it seriously because we are seeing meteorological numbers in our weather maps that are rarely seen here.”

The hurricane has been as highly rated as a Category 4, and was expected to be a Category 3 as it scraped past Bermuda overnight. Though Bermuda residents have been preparing. the greatest damage is expected when Fiona travels further north. Weather experts say there’s no indication it will slow down before reaching Atlantic Canada Friday night and smashing into Nova Scotia Saturday morning. Many are predicting it will hit as a Category 4 storm again.

Yale Climate Connections said that “Fiona may become a post-tropical cyclone just hours before reaching the coast, but hurricane-scale impacts are likely whether or not it does.”

The article said Fiona’s center will probably touch land in eastern Nova Scotia on Saturday morning, “putting tiny Sable Island and larger Cape Breton Island at highest risk of the worst impacts. “

Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland are all in the path of Fiona, according to the National Hurricane Center.

News Center Maine said that “the latest forecast calls for the strongest storm in history to hit the Canadian Maritimes.” And despite earlier predictions that Fiona would not impact the United States, aside from some high waves and dangerous rip currents on the Eastern coastline, the center said Maine residents should brace for power outages. But it said New England can expect to be spared the worst of the storm.

The National Hurricane Center said Fiona will maintain its “major” hurricane status southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Friday night and make landfall on the eastern tip by Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

The Washington Post posted a video from an ocean drone, described as a robotic surfboard, that showed 50-foot waves from Fiona 360 miles southeast of Bermuda. “Torrential rain and ominous sea spray are seen swirling as the vehicle sways and lunges atop the ocean’s turbulent surface,” the accompanying article said.

The drone was operated by scientists from the company Saildrone and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.