Hundreds of thousands of Canadians were left without power on Saturday after former Hurricane Fiona slammed into the country’s Atlantic provinces, causing what officials called a shocking and devastating amount of damage.
Trees were toppled and power poles snapped in half, and roofs were ripped off buildings and homes were leveled after Fiona made landfall in eastern Nova Scotia around 3 a.m., authorities said.
When Fiona made landfall near Whitehead, it was a post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds of 90 mph, officials said.
“It’s shocking the damage we’re seeing,” Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said Saturday.
A storm surge of more than 6 feet hit Prince Edward Island. The damage is likely to be the worst the province has ever seen, and recovery will take weeks or more, Prime Minister Dennis King said.
As of Saturday afternoon, no deaths associated with the storm had been reported.
More than 471,000 customers in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland lost power on Saturday, according to utilities.
Nova Scotia Power CEO Peter Gregg said some will be without power for “several days.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has canceled plans to attend a state funeral in Japan for assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He said the storm was having a “terrible impact.”
“We are seeing devastating images coming out of Port aux Basques,” Trudeau said. “PEI (Prince Edward Island) has experienced storm damage like never before. Cape Breton is also being hit hard, as is Quebec.”
He said the country’s armed forces would be deployed to help in the aftermath and that the federal government would be ready to help.
In Port aux Basques, on Newfoundland’s southwestern coast, evacuations were ordered and Mayor Brian Button said “total devastation” was taking place. CBC Reports.
News agency video showed houses being swept away. Phil Boyles fled due to storm surge. “I took out everything he could try to hold onto, and now it doesn’t look like he can get it back,” he said, according to the CBC.
Fiona had been a Category 4 hurricane as it approached Bermuda.
It caused significant damage in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic earlier this week when it was a Category 1 storm. Fifteen deaths in Puerto Rico and two deaths in the Dominican Republic have been linked to the storm, officials there said.
The hurricane had been forecast to be a historic weather event for eastern Canada.
In Prince Edward Island, King, the prime minister, said Saturday that the damage was most likely the worst the province had ever seen.
“It was heralded as one of the most severe storms to ever hit our province and by all accounts, Hurricane Fiona has lived up to that billing,” he said.
He was grateful there had been no reports of serious injuries or worse, but said “our road to recovery is going to be weeks or more.”
At 6 p.m. local time, Fiona was 80 miles northwest of Port aux Basques and was moving northeast at 8 mph, the US National Hurricane Center said.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and was forecast to move across Labrador and over the Labrador Sea on Saturday night and into Sunday. It will produce life-threatening high swells and rip currents, the center said.