Hurricane Fiona is hurtling towards Atlantic Canada amid warnings that it could be the strongest-ever to hit the region.
The Category 4 hurricane will weaken before it reaches Nova Scotia but could still be a “historic storm”, officials say. A meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Centre told CNN that Fiona could be “Canada’s version of (Hurricane) Sandy.”
Meteorologists have predicted hurricane-force winds, wave swells of around 40 feet (12 metres), widespread coastal flooding and more than seven inches (20 centimetres) of rain in some areas.
The Nova Scotian provincial government has urged residents to prepare, including for power outages, by packing an emergency supplies bag and securing doors and windows.
Hurricane warnings have been issued for parts of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. Other parts of Atlantic Canada are under tropical storm warnings or watches.
“If you are in the region, please take proper precautions and listen to local authorities,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter.
Hurricanes will occasionally pass through Canada, though often weaker than the hurricanes that hit closer to the tropics, having been dulled by colder waters in the northern seas. The most destructive hurricane in recent years to hit the country was Hurricane Juan, which hit Nova Scotia as a Category 2 storm in 2003, killing eight people.
Bus service, ferries and flights across the region have been shut down and parks have closed, reports Global News, as hockey games and the Halifax Oyster Festival have been postponed.
Tropical cyclones are expected to get stronger in the coming decades as the climate crisis grows and raises ocean and air temperatures. Warmer waters can supercharge a hurricane, adding tons more rain and wind that can be especially destructive as the storm hits land.
This is a breaking story, more to follow