Jennifer Francis on Hurricane Fiona

September 23, 2022

Hurricane Fiona looking more and more like Superstorm Sandy.

I spoke to good friend and Ocean and Atmosphere expert Jennifer Francis this afternoon, from her home in Massachusetts.

Mathew Gross on Twitter:

The severity of what’s about to occur in Nova Scotia on Friday night cannot be overstated! A hybrid hurricane will result from the violent phasing of a sharp cutoff trough and major hurricane Fiona moving into the same waters well east of New England.

The all time historical low pressure record anywhere in Canada is 940.2 mb, and that was from a winter storm in Newfoundland back in January of 1977. 

With Fiona, most models are suggesting a pressure getting down to around 930 mb at the time of landfall, with some more aggressive guidance going even lower than that. 

The impacts of such an extreme event will be felt all over Nova Scotia, but they will especially severe in the beautiful Cape Breton Island area (as well as any other place that ends up east of the eye). Here, winds could gust over 125 mph from a southerly direction … 

And none of the native plant population is used to experiencing that. There will be unprecedented forest loss, and any buildings or structures located near Nova Scotia’s copious tall trees will be in danger of failure as the falling flora will punch holes, or … 

even complete destroy parts of roofs or other sections of houses and buildings. Once this damage is inflicted, Fiona’s ferocious winds will continue to erode the wounded structures in ways that stronger winds in tropical regions with fewer deciduous trees can’t match. 

In this case, it’s not just the wind, it’s the weaponry!

In addition to these winds, Fiona’s immense size (after she phases with the trough) will push record breaking surge for the area into bays, inlets, and coastlines across the province. 

To the west of the eye, rainfall totals will be extreme. Here, winds may struggle to gust over 100 mph, but the combination of the plant life, fresh water flooding loosening roots, and winds still gusting to hurricane force easily be enough to cause enormous problems. 

For now, these types of conditions west of the eye are likely to include Nova Scotia’s largest city, Halifax. 

Lastly, because this storm is going to be stronger than anything we have in the record book for this region, and because it’s approaching from an angle of attack that is rarely seen, there’s going to be additional surprises. 

So much of our knowledge of how to prepare for storms in comes from the lessons other benchmark storm taught us; but unfortunately for Nova Scotia, this is going to be THE new benchmark storm, and all the lessons won’t be known until after #Fiona is done unleashing her fury. 

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One Response to “Jennifer Francis on Hurricane Fiona”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Eh, that’s a sea surface temperature anomaly map.
    I’d be better informed if I saw a straight SST map to know the absolute value of the temps.


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