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Cyclone Fiona leaves many without power in eastern Canada

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Over half a million households and businesses in eastern Canada are without power as Fiona's strong winds and heavy rain batter the region. Storm was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone early today, but forecasters at the Canadian Hurricane Center still predict it'll be one of the largest and most damaging storms to hit the area. Reporter Emma Jacobs has been watching Fiona's progress and joins us from Montreal.

Emma, thanks for being with us.

EMMA JACOBS, BYLINE: Thank you.

SIMON: And what's the latest on the storm?

JACOBS: Fiona made landfall in Nova Scotia early this morning, no longer at hurricane strength but still strong enough to do a lot of damage. This is the same storm that's been wrecking a really destructive path through the Caribbean and northwards. It caused a lot of damage in Puerto Rico, leaving thousands without power. In Canada, Fiona's winds and heavy rainfall are expected across parts of five provinces, including Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. It's going to take a while to assess the damage, but there are a couple of big concerns. With high winds and leaves still on the trees, power outages are going to be very widespread and will take longer to restore.

SIMON: How have people prepared?

JACOBS: People in the path of the storm have been raiding grocery stores, getting boats out of the water, stocking up on fuel for generators. Provincial officials in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia said to have supplies on hand that will last three days. Parts of Nova Scotia have opened evacuation centers, and officials running the emergency response have warned people in vulnerable coastal areas to be prepared to evacuate. Inspectors also visited construction sites in Halifax this week. In 2019, a crane collapsed on a building during post-tropical storm Dorian.

SIMON: Emma, how unusual is it for a storm of this strength to hit eastern Canada?

JACOBS: It is unusual but not unheard of for hurricanes to land up in the Maritimes. The most infamous was Hurricane Juan back in 2003, which did about $200 million in damage. There was Dorian in 2019. We do know that climate change and warmer oceans are making extreme weather events like this one more intense with more rainfall. And in general, more of these storms are making landfall further north. So whatever the outcome with Fiona - and it's difficult to assess while this storm is still cutting a very destructive path across the region - many meteorologists have predicted that this will be a storm of historic proportions for this part of Canada, and it's going to leave a lot of broken records trailing in its wake.

SIMON: Emma Jacobs in Montreal, thanks so much for being with us.

JACOBS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Emma Jacobs
Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
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