‘It is surreal’: Canada’s Atlantic coast residents describe devastation as Fiona wipes away homes and knocks out power for thousands

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CNN  — 

Fiona ripped through Canada’s eastern seaboard at hurricane strength after making landfall in Nova Scotia on Saturday, slamming the area with fierce winds and storm surge, sapping power for hundreds of thousands and washing away or collapsing some coastal homes.

Fiona, now a post-tropical cyclone, continued to slowly weaken Saturday evening and into the night as it moved away from the coastal town of Channel-Port aux Basques, in Newfoundland and Labrador, where the storm left a trail of devastation. Some coastal homes in the area collapsed and a few toppled structures fell into the sea or were surrounded by floodwater, pictures sent from the province Saturday morning showed.

In Channel-Port aux Basques, houses were washed away, Mayor Brian Button said in a Facebook video Saturday. Huge waves reaching the eastern shores of Nova Scotia and southwestern Newfoundland caused “severe coastal flooding” at the town, the Canadian Hurricane Centre said Saturday night.

Authorities in the province declared a state of emergency for the town amid “multiple electrical fires, residential flooding and washouts” Saturday morning.

René Roy, editor-in-chief of Wreckhouse Press, a local news publication, described a scene of carnage in the storm: uprooted trees, at least eight nearby homes vanished in the wake of a violent storm surge, cabins floating by, a boat carried by floodwaters into the middle of a local playground.

“I’ve lived through Hurricane Juan and that was a foggy day compared to this monster,” Roy, 50, told CNN. Hurricane Juan battered the Canadian coast as a Category 2 storm in 2003, knocking down power lines and trees and leaving behind extensive damage. “It is surreal what is happening here,” Roy added.