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Fiona ’extremely strong and dangerous’ as hurricane watch issued for P.E.I., N.S., N.L.

Hurricane Fiona's position as of Thursday.

Hurricane Fiona's position as of Thursday.

Photo: Université du Colorado / CIRA

RCI

Transition means storm will grow in scale and cover even more territory

Hurricane Fiona has the potential to be a severe storm for parts of Atlantic Canada this weekend. 

The hurricane will track northward and into the Maritimes late Friday and Saturday as it transitions to a post-tropical storm.

That post-tropical transition does not mean the storm will be weaker, but its structure will change. It will grow in scale and cover even more territory.

Bob Robichaud, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, said in a briefing Thursday that Hurricane Fiona is an extremely strong and dangerous storm.

While the cone of uncertainty is still quite large, it's narrowing each day. Forecast models continue to project landfall over Cape Breton or the eastern mainland of Nova Scotia.

WATCH | N.S. officials provide update on storm preparations

Rain will arrive well ahead of Fiona. A cold front moving in from the west will bring its own rain on through Thursday and into Friday and then begin to tap into moisture from Fiona.

This comes as Environment Canada issued a hurricane watch (new window) including all of P.E.I., eastern Nova Scotia including Cape Breton Island, western Newfoundland and Îles-de-la-Madeleine.   

A tropical storm watch or statement (new window) is also in place for parts of southern Quebec, eastern Nova Scotia, eastern New Brunswick and much of Newfoundland, including the Avalon peninsula. 

Every storm is different, Robichaud said.

He added that there are a variety of factors, including if the storm shifts away from its current track, that could affect how hard the region is hit, though Fiona's area of coverage is reminiscent of 2019's Hurricane Dorian.

Will it be as strong as [Hurricane] Juan when Juan made landfall in 2003 where there were some extreme winds but they were concentrated over a small area? he said, This storm is going to be bigger in size compared to what Juan was, but maybe a little stronger than what we saw with Dorian.

WATCH | CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon's full Fiona forecast

The heaviest rain is expected as Fiona tracks through on Friday night and into Saturday.

The prolonged heavy rainfall will bring the potential for flooding, especially along and to the left of the track. Rainfall amounts in those areas could reach 100-150 millimetres, or even more. 

With the storm growing in scale, very strong winds are expected across a large area. With the trees in full leaf, the power outage potential will be high.

Widespread gusts of more than 100 km/h are likely across central and eastern Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, P.E.I. and western and southwestern Newfoundland. In these areas, gusts could exceed 130 km/h, especially in exposed coastal areas.

Even in areas further to the west, gusts exceeding 70 km/h look possible.

WATCH | Hurricane Fiona barrels toward Atlantic Canada

Storm surge is also likely. The impact will be highly dependent on the track and timing of the storm and how it coincides with high tide. Stay tuned for more details.

It's time to prepare. Make sure your emergency kit is ready to go (new window) and your propane tank is topped up. Check that your downspouts and storm drains are clear and make sure your sump pump and generator are in working order.

Ryan Snoddon (new window) · CBC News ·

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