Storm Fiona made landfall in Canada early Saturday as a post-tropical cyclone after surging north from the Caribbean, where another tropical storm was gaining strength and has already prompted Florida to declare a state of emergency as the storm tracks toward the state.
Fiona battered Canada’s Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Quebec before dawn with hurricane-strength winds, heavy rains and huge waves.
Canadian troops are being deployed to help citizens recover after the storm swept away houses, stripped off roofs and knocked out power across the provinces.
“I’m seeing homes in the ocean. I’m seeing rubble floating all over the place. It’s complete and utter destruction. There’s an apartment that is gone,” said René J. Roy, a resident of Channel-Port Aux Basques on the southern coast of Newfoundland.
More than 415,000 Nova Scotia Power customers — about 80% of the province of almost 1 million people — were affected by outages Saturday. Over 82,000 customers in the province of Prince Edward Island, about 95%, also lost power, while NB Power in New Brunswick reported 44,329 were without electricity.
Peter Gregg, president and CEO of Nova Scotia Power, said about 380,000 customers remained without power Saturday afternoon as a weakening Fiona moved away over the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Ian gained strength over the Caribbean and was forecast to become a major hurricane.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the entire state.
“This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”
The National Hurricane Center said early Sunday that Ian was forecast to begin “rapidly strengthening later today” with the “risk of significant wind and storm surge impacts increasing for western Cuba.”
Ian was forecast to move toward the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of next week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.