Fiona, now-Category 3 storm, heads toward Canada

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Fiona, now-Category 3 storm, heads toward Canada

Hurricane Fiona hammered Bermuda with heavy rains on Friday as the now-Category 3 storm moved toward northeastern Canada.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said that the center of the storm was northwest of Bermuda by Friday morning with maximum sustained winds nearing 125 mph, with higher gusts. The storm was downgraded from a Category 4 hurricane as it made its way past the island, it said.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre said Fiona was expected to reach the waters of the maritime province of Nova Scotia by Friday evening, with heavy rainfall and powerful hurricane force winds expected to hit Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec starting early Saturday.

This storm is shaping up to be a serious event for Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec, it said on its website in an update early Friday. Numerous weather models are consistent in their prediction of what we call a deep hybrid low pressure system, with both tropical and intense winter storm properties, with very heavy rainfall and severe winds. Hurricanes in Canada are relatively rare, with storms usually losing their main source of energy as they hit colder waters.

Canada's eastern coast has seen such storms before, such as Hurricane Juan in 2003, which has heavily affected parts of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and resulted in multiple deaths, according to Canada's hurricane center. The storm caused widespread power outages, major tree damage and delivered record coastal water levels, it said.

The hurricane center said that severe winds and rain would have major impacts on eastern Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, western Newfoundland, eastern Quebec and southeastern Labrador.

The hurricane center said that large waves would be felt particularly for the Atlantic coasts of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and eastern portions of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It warned of the high possibility of a storm surge, or abnormal rise of water caused by a storm, in parts of Nova Scotia, western Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The hurricane center warned of the possibility of downed trees and power outages, noting that most regions will experience hurricane force winds. It said construction sites could be particularly vulnerable to the storm.

Fiona has left a lot of devastation in its wake, including eight deaths suspected of being connected to the storm in Puerto Rico, one confirmed death in the Dominican Republic and another confirmed death in Guadeloupe.

In Puerto Rico, much of the population is still without power and access to clean drinking water as recovery efforts continue after homes were destroyed, trees were downed and roads blocked by the hurricane.

At least 928,000 customers were affected by power outages in Puerto Rico as of Friday, according to the online tracker PowerOutage.us.

President Joe Biden said that hundreds of FEMA and other federal officials were on the ground to help in the response efforts in Puerto Rico, as well as at a Thursday briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials in New York.

The president said that we're all in this together, as he expressed concern that many homes and businesses are still without power, as well as clean drinking water.

Biden said that Fiona's devastation came exactly five years after Hurricane Maria, the deadliest U.S. natural disaster in over 100 years, hit Puerto Rico.

To the people of Puerto Rico who are still hurting from Hurricane Maria five years later, he said, "We are with you." We're not going to walk away.