The forecast track of Hurricane Fiona moved a bit closer on Wednesday, and Prince Edward Islanders are being urged to prepare for a major storm.
The forecast has moved the likely path of the hurricane by early Saturday a little closer to the island, and the storm is also projected to be stronger.
“It does now look like it’s going to make landfall somewhere in Cape Breton by early Saturday morning,” CBC meteorologist Tina Simpkin said.
“Some of the latest models have it as a Category 3 hurricane brushing over Sable Island.”
Environment Canada issued a special weather statement early Wednesday.
The federal agency says the combination of Fiona with another weather system will create heavy rains starting Thursday night, and flooding that could wash out roads is likely.
Strong to severe winds will begin Friday night and peak on Saturday.
Preparations well underway
PEI’s Emergency Measures Organization was activating to Level 1 enhanced monitoring Wednesday morning. The province has scheduled a news conference for 3 pm to provide updates on Fiona’s track and potential impacts to the Island.
EMO is encouraging Islanders to replenish supplies of their emergency preparedness kits, with food, water, heat and fuel supplies to sustain each household for up to five days.
There is still a level of uncertainty, Simpkin said, but that window of uncertainty is getting smaller as the hurricane moves north.
“Regardless of that storm track, whether that varies even by 100 kilometres, this is such a huge storm that it is going to have impacts here in PEI,” said Simpkin.
“If we’re prepared, then we’re less scared and we know where everything is.”
As forecasts grew more ominous, officials with the 2022 Harvest Home Festival announced the cancellation of the weekend event, and Discover Charlottetown also postponed its Street Feast Block Party that was scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
“We’ve been getting a lot of calls from festival and event organizers for the last few days … trying to work through really what this weekend is going to mean,” said Corryn Clemence, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of PEI
“So there’s a lot of scrambling, I think, taking place — and some that are hopeful that they can maybe adapt their existing programming to still deliver on some of those events. But you know, it’s something that we’re all pretty concerned about and watching closely.”