Hurricane Fiona going through Atlantic Canada. NOAA-GOES-EAST

Olivia Heilemann
News Editor

Hurricane Fiona, a category four hurricane, has devastated Puerto Rico and did not stop after it downgraded to a tropical storm and took on Nova Scotia, Canada.

Dr. Richard Clark, a retired Millersville professor of meteorology and chair of the department of earth sciences, shared his expertise in meteorology by describing the severity of a category four hurricane and the kind of damage it can do. Dr. Clark is currently the 2022 President of the American Meteorology Society.

The American Meteorology Society is a scientific non-profit organization consisting of 12,000 members. These members include meteorologists, atmospheric scientists, hydrologists, oceanographers, and others of related fields. They meet annually to discuss issues related to science and hold about 30 conference meetings per year. Dr. Richard Clark represents Millersville University as president.

“I’m probably the first president in the history of the American Meteorological Society from a smaller school like Millersville,” Dr. Clark says. “That’s testimony to the national recognition that Millersville Meteorology has in the community.”

According to Dr. Clark, a category four hurricane usually consists of winds of up to 130 to 150 miles per hour. While the wind speeds may vary between hurricanes, Dr. Clark classifies this as a major hurricane. Major hurricanes are also highly destructive in the storm surge, especially at high tide with winds creating abnormally large waves on top of it.

Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Fiona while it was still a category four hurricane. The entire island lost power and water, on top of the dangerous temperatures of over 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Power is still in the process of being restored as the storm progresses north. At least eight lives were lost in the hurricane, adding onto the recovery process.

“Once you get the mechanical recovery going, then there’s the emotional distraught of losing. Some people have lost everything, some people were fortunate and didn’t lose anything, and there’s the whole gamut in between catastrophic loss and no loss at all,” says Dr. Clark.

Fiona eventually made its way up to Atlantic Canada on Sunday, after downgrading to a tropical storm. The storm managed to do a significant amount of damage in Nova Scotia, New Finland, and part of New Brunswick. Dr. Clark pointed out his concern about the Bay of Fundy, located between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The Bay of Fundy is known to have the highest tides in the world, strengthening the damage a severe storm may do.

Evan Newman is a meteorology student here at Millersville University. He spent his summer on Sable Island doing a research project for an internship. He was specifically asked by Dr. Qing Wang, a scientist from the Naval Postgraduate School in California, to study marine fog as it has a strong importance to Naval operations.

Sable Island, a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia, is known for its abundance of wild horses. It was found in the northeast quadrant of the storm surge and the public feared for the safety of the horses. Fortunately, natural instinct urged the horses to find shelter and reports say they remained safe.

“It’s going to be dangerous for the people in Canada for a while, and I know that they’re, like I said, battering down the hatches. They’ve been through this before, and I think they’re a pretty rough lot that know how to handle things like this.” Dr. Clark concluded.