Major Hurricane Fiona is Growing Larger, Which is Bad News for Bermuda and Canada

Major Hurricane Fiona is growing larger, which is bad news for Bermuda and Canada. The powerful storm, rated a Category 4 on the 5-level Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, is gaining latitude and as it does so, it is also expanding its wind field. With the storm growing wider, even a pass well west of Bermuda could bring hurricane force conditions to the island. And an even larger storm could be devastating for Atlantic Canada where an eventual landfall seems likely.

Latest forecast track and advisories for Hurricane Fiona. Image: NHC
Latest forecast track and advisories for Hurricane Fiona. Image: NHC

As of the last advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Fiona was based 550 miles southwest of Bermuda and 1,315 miles south-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia. With maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, the storm is moving due north at 10 mph. Minimum central pressure is down to 934 mb or 27.58″.

The storm is wide now and will become more wide soon. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles  from
the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles. NOAA buoy 41047, about 55 nautical miles north-northwest of the center of Fiona, recently reported a sustained wind of 54 mph and a gust to 67 mph.

While Fiona’s center should pass well to the west of Bermuda, because the storm is so wide, tropical storm conditions are likely there and hurricane conditions are possible. As a result, authorities there have issued both a Hurricane Watch and Tropical Storm Warning for Bermuda. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within 24 to 36 hours.

Environment Canada, the Canadian equivalent of the National Weather Service, hasn’t issued any watches or warnings for Atlantic Canada yet, but that likely will change by tomorrow morning. Based on the current NHC forecast, hurricane conditions are likely to impact a large part of Nova Scotia,  Newfoundland, and beyond. And with the storm expected to be even wider as it approaches Canada, a very significant area could see hurricane force winds as Fiona slams north into coastal Canada later this week and over the weekend. People in Canada should monitor the progress of this system and those in Atlantic Canada should make sure their Hurricane Action Plans are in order as soon as possible.