Hurricane Fiona: Canada prepares for ‘strongest-ever’ storm

Hurricane Fiona: Canada prepares for ‘strongest-ever’ storm

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.

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.

Nova Scotia’s provincial government urged residents to prepare for power outages, pack bags of emergency supplies and secure doors and windows.

“If you are in the region, please take proper precautions and listen to local authorities,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also posted on Twitter.

Hurricanes occasionally pass through Canada but are often weaker than cyclones which hit the tropics after being dulled by colder, northern waters.

The most recent, destructive hurricane to hit the country was Hurricane Juan which landed in Nova Scotia as a Category 2 storm in 2003 and led to the deaths of eight people.

Bus services, ferries and flights across the region have been shut down and parks closed, reported Global News. Hockey games and the Halifax Oyster Festival have also been postponed.

Hurricanes are expected to become stronger in the coming decades as the climate crisis deepens and increases ocean and air temperatures. Warmer waters can supercharge a hurricane with more rain and stronger winds that are particularly dangerous on landfall.