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470,000 without power after Fiona causes ‘shocking’ damage in Canada

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Hundreds of thousands of Canadians were without power on Saturday after former Hurricane Fiona slammed into the country’s Atlantic provinces, causing a shocking and devastating amount of damage, officials say.

Trees were downed and utility poles were broken in half, and roofs were ripped off buildings and houses washed away after Fiona made landfall in eastern Nova Scotia around 3 a.m., officials said.

When Fiona made landfall near Whitehead, it was a post-tropical cyclone with hurricane strength at 90 mph, officials said.

“It’s shocking how much damage we’re seeing,” Nova Scotia Prime Minister Tim Houston said on Saturday.

A storm surge of more than six feet hit Prince Edward Island. The damage is likely the worst ever seen in the province, and recovery will take weeks or more, Prime Minister Dennis King said.

No deaths from the storm had been reported as of Saturday afternoon.

More than 471,000 customers in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland were without power on Saturday, according to utility companies.

Nova Scotia Power CEO Peter Gregg said some will be without power for “several days”.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau canceled plans to attend a state funeral in Japan for murdered ex-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He said the storm had a “terrible impact”.

“We see devastating images coming out of Port aux Basques,” Trudeau said. “PEI (Prince Edward Island) has sustained storm damage like they’ve never seen before. Cape Breton is also hit hard, as is Quebec.”

He said the country’s armed forces would be mobilized to help in the aftermath, and the federal government would be ready to help.

In Port aux Basques on Newfoundland’s southwest coast, evacuations were ordered and Mayor Brian Button said “total destruction” was underway. CBC reported.

Video from the news agency shows how houses are being washed away. Phil Boyles fled because of the storm surge barrier. “I took out everything I could try to keep, and now it seems like I can’t even go back,” he said, according to the CBC.

Fiona had been a Category 4 hurricane as it approached Bermuda.

It caused major damage in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic earlier this week when it was a Category 1 storm. Fifteen deaths in Puerto Rico and two deaths in the Dominican Republic are due to the storm, officials there said.

The hurricane was predicted to be a historic weather event for eastern Canada.

In Prince Edward Island, King, the prime minister, said on Saturday that the damage is most likely the worst the province has ever seen.

“It was billed as one of the worst storms to ever hit our province, and Hurricane Fiona most likely lived up to that bill,” he said.

He was thankful there were no reports of serious injuries or worse, but said “our road to recovery will take weeks or more.”

At 6 p.m. local time, Fiona was 80 miles (80 km) northwest of Port aux Basques and was moving northeast at a speed of 8 miles per hour, the US National Hurricane Center said.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and was expected to pass over Labrador and across the Labrador Sea late Saturday and Sunday. It will cause major swells and life-threatening rip currents, the center said.

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