CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI — Hurricane Fiona’s course remains set on Atlantic Canada and could be one of the largest storms PEI has experienced in decades.
SaltWire Network weather specialist Allister Aalders said on September 22 that the storm is likely to hit parts of the province hard and residents in those areas could see historic amounts of rain.
“This has the potential to be a severe and potentially devastating storm for the region,” Aalders said.
On its current course, the storm is likely to make landfall between Guysborough County, NS, and Cape Breton with a Category 2 strength.
Storm Watch: After Hurricane Fiona
Northeast PEI, including the Charlottetown area, will see the heaviest rainfall, with 100 to 150 millimeters of rain, with 200 millimeters expected in some local areas. Western PEI will likely see anywhere between 50 and 100 millimeters of rain.
Winds are expected to reach gusts of 170 kilometers across the province by Saturday afternoon.
“It’s a number we don’t often use in our forecasts, it’s not an everyday occurrence. Gusts in that range are definitely on the table and should probably be prepared,” Aalders said.
The storm’s wind will begin from the north-northeast on Friday, but as the storm’s center moves across the Gulf of Saint Lawrence it is likely to shift to a northwesterly wind. Waves along the north coast are likely to get five to seven meters high but could reach 12 meters in some areas.
These waves battering the North Shore put many areas at high risk of coastal erosion and people living in these communities should not rule out evacuation as a possibility.
“This will certainly be a storm to talk about for years to come,” Aalders said. “This will go down in the history books.”
Level 2 monitoring
Public Safety Minister Darlene Compton said at the now daily EMO press conference on September 22 that she had moved to Level 2 surveillance.
This means bringing on more partners, including transport companies, rental companies, the Canadian Red Cross and Maritime Electric, to help with joint community clean-up plans.
“We’ll keep repeating it: We plan for the worst and hope for the best.”
Fire brigades across the island will also be on standby over the weekend to help with cleanup efforts where needed.
The population is asked to stay as far away from the streets as possible on Saturday so as not to get in the way of the clean-up workers.
“We want the islanders to stay safe and stay home until we get the all clear,” Compton said.
EMO’s Tanya Mullally, who also spoke at the press conference, said the part of the storm she’s most concerned about is the storm surge expected along the north coast, which some Nova Scotia forecasters say is causing it could be historical.
“We went head-to-head with Juan yesterday, now they’re saying that might not be enough to prepare us for what we could expect,” Mullally said.
She also said the Department for Social Development and Housing has announced plans to open temporary shelters open to the public. A list of open shelters will be available on the EMO website.
She agreed that staying indoors until the storm passes is highly recommended.
“Once the storm passes, the urge to get outside will beckon, but I’m asking you to hold on,” Mullally said.
At the Charlottetown Marina, boat owners are being advised to get their boats out of the water before the post-tropical storm system is expected to hit parts of the province this weekend.
since the queue is quite long.
“If (boat owners) can reel their boats out now, that’s the best course of action. You have until Friday,” Charlottetown Marina’s Marcus D’Aubin told SaltWire Network on Sept. 21.
The line of people waiting to haul their boats out of the water is long, so the wisest thing to do would be to act now.
If owners do not have the opportunity to get their boat out before Friday, the marina recommends parking it as close to the shore as possible to avoid possible damage.
“If docks fail or other boats break loose and wreak havoc, you want to be able to have a plan B and seek shelter elsewhere,” D’Aubin said.
“It will come at us from the north and northwest. The closer you are to a shore, the better.”
Rafe Wright is a reporter for the Local Journalism Initiative, a position filled by the federal government. He writes on climate change issues for the SaltWire network in Prince Edward Island and can be emailed at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @wright542.