Data shows Fiona’s impact on Atlantic Canada as all-time records are broken

Fiona left an impressive mark on Canada’s east coast when the Category 4 hurricane that became a post-tropical storm made landfall over the weekend.

Reports coming in from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, PEI, Iles-de-la-Madeleine, and New Brunswick included strong wind gusts, record storm pressure, and thousands of residents without power.

As recovery efforts continue and provinces assess storm damage, breaks down the data behind the destruction.


The strong and sustained winds were enough to break a new record in Canadian storm pressure history. Extreme weather events often have a low pressure field in the northern and eastern sections of a storm, which in turn strengthens the wind. First data from Environment Canada’s Hurricane Center (CHC) indicate that storm pressure on Nova Scotia’s Hart Island reached 932.7 millibars and 932.8 millibars in East Chedabucto Bay.

Dan Kottlowksi, a meteorologist and chief hurricane forecaster for Accuweather, says this was a new record for Canada, which had previously only reached a low of 940.2 millibars.

“We’ve never seen a storm with this much pressure, as far as we’ve been able to measure throughout history,” Kottlowski said in a phone interview with on Monday.

The CHC also reported wind gusts in Nova Scotia, including Sydney, St. Paul Island and Halifax, ranging from 111 km/h to 158 km/h. Winds in Newfoundland were also extremely strong, particularly in Wreckhouse, where wind speeds of up to 177 km/h were recorded, while in Port aux Basques, where nearby houses were swept away by a storm surge, gales of 114 km were reported. /h. .

Kottlowski says that the force of the winds wasn’t the only major reason for the damage it left behind, but it was also its staying power.

“What surprised me so much is how long tropical storm to hurricane force winds occurred and in many places on Cape Breton Island and southwestern and western Newfoundland, those hurricane to near-hurricane force winds lasted for more than eight hours,” he said. he said she.

Kottlowski described the storm surges as “phenomenal”, as reports of winds blowing over the water created storm surges reaching five meters in height. Comparing its power to Hurricane Juan in 2003, he says that Fiona was the worst storm in history to pass through this specific Atlantic region between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

“Hurricane Juan wasn’t moving as slow as this one, but it also hit a very populated area of ​​Halifax, so we didn’t have as many injuries this time,” he said.


Although there were reports of flooded houses and streets, Kottlowski says the rain was not as extreme as predicted.

According to the CHC, parts of New Brunswick, such as Crowe Brook and Fundy Park, and Nova Scotia, saw reports of heavy rainfall exceeding 100mm. An unofficial report suggested that the town of Antigonish saw more than 200mm of rain. Regions in PEI, Quebec, Newfoundland saw a range of 50mm to about 100mm of rain.

Kottlowski says a surge of dry air created by the storm is likely what stopped the rain.

“A big surge of dry air engulfed Fiona as it made landfall over Cape Breton Island and I think that dry air really put an end to any substantial rain,” he said. “I think most of the heaviest rain fell before the storm, which is not uncommon for tropical storms.”

However, water levels still reached new heights for some communities such as Escuminac, NB which reported 2.82 meters; the previous record was 2.47 meters. Port aux Basques also slightly surpassed her previous record of 2.71 meters when Fiona reached a new level of 2.75 meters.

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