More than half of Puerto Rican electricity customers, over 700,000, were still without power amid widespread power outages Monday morning after Hurricane Fiona hit the island over a week ago. Two thousand miles north, the Category 2-strength remnants of Hurricane Fiona pummeled Atlantic Canada over the weekend, killing at least one person in Newfoundland, knocking out electricity for more than 540,000 homes, and generally wreaking “unprecedented” damage across the region. That assessment, from emergency preparedness minister Bill Blair to reporters on Sunday, is backed by the fact that the storm was “the lowest-pressured land-falling storm on record in Canada” according to the Canadian Hurricane Centre.
The storm surge set a new record high-tide level in Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, where René Roy, editor in chief of the local Wreckhouse Weekly, described the storm as, “an absolute howitzer … as bad as anyone here has ever seen.” The wind, he said, was not uncommon, “we’re used to that. But what we’re not used to is 30-, 40-, 50-foot waves coming up onto the roads, moving houses 60 feet or just completely vaporizing them.”
The Canadian military has been mobilized to assist the affected area, which officials said could take months to recover. (Puerto Rican power outages: AP, NBC, Canary Media; Canada damage: AP, Reuters, Washington Post $, NPR, CNN, AP, NBC, New York Times $, Yale Climate Connections, BBC, Bloomberg $, The Guardian; Canadian power outages: Axios, NPR, CNN; Historic Canadian storms: Washington Post $; Photos: CNN; High-latitude intensity: The Guardian; Climate Signals background: Hurricanes)