Economic fallout from Hurricane Fiona to reach $2B to $4B in Canada


A satellite image shows Hurricane Fiona on Saturday as it swirled over Atlantic Canada. Image courtesy of NASA WorldView

Cleanup is underway in Atlantic Canada after Fiona made landfall early Saturday as one of the most intense weather systems to ever impact the country. Hundreds of thousands were left without power and scenes of incredible destruction emerged from Canada’s far eastern reaches.

AccuWeather founder and CEO Joel N. Myers estimates total damage and economic loss from Fiona in Atlantic Canada to be between $2 billion and $4 billion. This negative impact to Canada’s economy is in addition to the $10 billion in damage and economic impact estimate that AccuWeather issued for Puerto Rico.

At least three deaths have been reported in Atlantic Canada related to Fiona, including an 81-year-old man who was swept out to sea, Canadian news outlet CTV News reported. There was an extensive search for the man, identified as Larry Smith, but search efforts were suspended Monday.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Larry Smith. This is an unimaginable time for our province and I cannot imagine the additional pain you are enduring now,” said Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week deployed the military to help clean up and recovery efforts across the region.

“This is the worst damage I’ve ever seen here,” Pat Smith or Antigonish, Nova Scotia, said. “We stayed downstairs cause the whole house was shaking.”

Myers has been studying the impact of extreme weather events on local and national economies for decades.

His estimate is based on an analysis that incorporates independent methods to evaluate all direct and indirect impacts of the storm. This includes insured and uninsured losses and is based on a variety of sources, statistics and proprietary techniques AccuWeather uses to estimate the damage, and includes damage to property, job and wage losses, infrastructure damage, auxiliary business losses, flight delays and medical expenses.

The estimate of $2 billion to $4 billion in losses for Atlantic Canada also accounts for the costs of evacuations, relocations, emergency management and the extraordinary expenses for cleanup operations and the long-term effects on business logistics, transportation, tourism as well as the costs of ongoing health effects in the aftermath of the storm, including those of unreported deaths and injuries.

Sustained winds frequently exceeded 100 mph in the hardest-hit areas, causing significant damage and widespread power outages across Nova Scotia.

The storm’s central pressure bottomed out at 27.55 inches of mercury (933 mb), which is a new all-time record for Canada, breaking the old record of 27.76 inches of mercury (940.2).

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