Fiona makes Canadian landfall as strong cat-1 cyclone

Fiona made landfall as a powerful post-tropical cyclone early Saturday morning (24 September), near Whitehead in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, according to an update from Guy Carpenter.

According to the Canadian Hurricane Centre (CHC), Fiona’s central pressure at landfall was recorded at 931 millibars, setting the record for the lowest landfalling storm in Canadian history. 

Guy Carpenter said that Fiona was a very strong category-1 equivalent cyclone at the time of landfall, packing multiple gusts over 100 mph (160 km/h) according to local media reports. In addition to hurricane-force winds, Fiona brought heavy rainfall leading to widespread flooding and severe storm surge across much of Atlantic Canada.

According to the broker, as tropical cyclones move north in the mid-latitudes, they often undergo a process called extra-tropical transition, in which a tropical cyclone loses its tropical characteristics, changes shape and symmetry, and often grows in size. While Fiona underwent extra-tropical transition on Friday into Saturday prior to landfall, the storm maintained hurricane-force strength at the time of landfall.

It added that there were widespread Impacts throughout Atlantic Canada: on Saturday morning, over 90% of Prince Edward Island customers were without power. Significant outages also occurred in Nova Scotia (80 percent of customers) and New Brunswick (28% of customers), altogether totalling more than 500,000 households without power in Atlantic Canada. 

Channel-Port aux Basques, a small town at the southwestern tip of Newfoundland, experienced severe storm surge that resulted in at least a dozen houses collapsing into the water. Local authorities across affected regions have communicated widespread impacts of downed power lines and fallen trees across affected areas. Current damage surveys are ongoing and will continue for the foreseeable future as conditions improve.