Hurricane Fiona has been making history this week. With its most recent Category 5 designation, Hurricane Fiona has become the most powerful hurricane on record and could end up being the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in all of the Atlantic Ocean Basin. If you’re not sure why this is such a big deal, let’s break it down.
1) The Category 4 hurricane Fiona pounded Bermuda early Friday with heavy rains and winds.
Fiona was a powerful Category 4 hurricane when it hit Bermuda early Friday, bringing heavy rains and winds, authorities said.
The storm is the strongest to hit the island since 1989. It followed an earlier tornado that tore through the island’s east end, destroying homes. Emergency responders are still assessing the damage caused by both storms, which may have killed one person. A Category 1 hurricane has sustained wind speeds of 74-95 miles per hour (mph) with higher gusts. A Category 2 hurricane has sustained wind speeds of 96-110 mph with higher gusts, while a Category 3 hurricane has sustained wind speeds of 111-129 mph with higher gusts.
2) It is expected to pick up speed and maintain major hurricane-force winds.
- This system is expected to pick up speed and maintain major hurricane-force winds as it moves across the Caribbean Sea.
- It’s possible that this could be the most powerful hurricane on record, with winds of 190 mph and a storm surge of 20 feet.
- The National Weather Service has issued hurricane warnings for Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius and Sint Maarten.
- A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Antigua and Barbuda; British Virgin Islands; Saint Barthelemy; U.S.
3) North Carolina’s coast and Outer Banks will see large swells from the system.
- Hurricane warnings and watches stretch from the North Carolina coast to Bermuda.
- A lot of things need to be done before the storm gets here, such as making sure your home is prepared for power outages.
- It’s important to take care of yourself, too. Get food and water and make sure you have plenty of medicine (e.g., ibuprofen) handy in case your pain or allergies act up due to the weather conditions.
- One hurricane survivor suggests bringing some cash with you while traveling so that you can buy anything that may be unavailable during the storm (e.g., milk).
4) People may see waves in some places in the form of 10-12 foot-high crests.
- Huge waves, even in the middle of a calm sea, are able to form due to Hurricane Fiona’s powerful winds. It is also possible that the hurricane could create a storm surge. Storm surges can happen when strong winds push water inland, which leads to flooding in low-lying areas. This is especially dangerous during hurricanes because even if you are not near the coast, you still might be vulnerable to flooding. If you’re in an area that has a higher risk for these types of floods, make sure your emergency kit has enough food and water for at least three days.
5) Before Fiona hit Bermuda, shelters were opened, schools and offices were closed.
- The storm is expected to hit the Bahamas and Cuba next.
- Before Fiona hit, power was out across the island.
- Wind speeds reached 150 mph with gusts up to 190 mph. Fiona has been upgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a Category 5 hurricane. Winds at this level have not been seen since 1932 when many people died in the Antilles and the Dominican Republic from similar winds. What’s more, it could be a coincidence that this powerful hurricane is happening now because of a connection to climate change: hurricanes are expected to get stronger due to rising sea temperatures which make their formation more likely, however, more research needs to be done on how climate change affects hurricanes before any conclusions can be drawn.
6) The storm will gain momentum before impacting areas in Atlantic Canada this weekend.
- Hurricanes are classified based off the Saffir-Simpson scale, which ranges from one to five. There are five levels of intensity, with five being the most intense.
- Hurricane Fiona is classified as a Category 4 hurricane, meaning it’s packing wind speeds between 130 and 156 miles per hour.
- According to Environment Canada, hurricanes in this category can cause catastrophic damage.
- Hurricane Fiona has already caused major devastation in parts of the Caribbean. Now it’s bearing down on Atlantic Canada. Residents are being advised to prepare for a possible evacuation if they live in high-risk coastal areas or low-lying flood zones.
7) According to the U.S. center, Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (215 kph) late Thursday.
Even though hurricane season is officially over, Hurricane Fiona has strengthened to a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds. The National Weather Service is issuing warnings for life-threatening storm surges and wind gusts. It’s just barely outside the Atlantic hurricane season which ends Nov. 30, but this is still a major event to monitor as it could affect land masses in the Bahamas and Florida with high winds and significant flooding.
8) So far, Fiona has been blamed for at least five deaths – two in Puerto Rico, two in the Dominican Republic, and one in Guadeloupe, a French island.
Fiona is currently sitting off the eastern coast of Venezuela and continuing to grow in size. You may have already heard about some of the havoc she’s caused. Here are two things you need to know about this powerhouse hurricane:
- It has grown to be the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic basin; as of 10/5, its winds reached 190mph.
- It made landfall over Dominica, a country in the Caribbean Sea; if Dominica sounds familiar, it’s because they were hit by Irma earlier this year (and at that time were lucky enough to escape severe damage). However, there is speculation that many people were killed during the storm. And sadly, these deaths weren’t even predicted: back in September, when Hurricane Jose had just passed through the area, meteorologists from around the world told locals not to worry about a second storm coming so soon.