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Thousands of Maritimers without power as storm brings high winds, heavy rain

Thousands of customers in N.S. and N.B. lost power in heavy storm
ABOVE: Thousands of customers in N.S. and N.B. lost power in heavy storm

Thousands of Maritime residents lost power on Thursday as a result of a slow-moving storm that brought high winds and heavy rain.

An intense low-pressure system brought strong southeasterly winds gusting to 90 km/h in some parts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Environment Canada said heavier than normal water levels and heavy surf can be expected along the Atlantic coast and areas near Northumberland Strait today, especially near high tide.

READ MORE: Buckets of rain, high wind expected to hit Halifax on Thursday: Environment Canada

“Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur,” Environment Canada said in a wind warning alert Thursday. “Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage. High winds may toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break.”

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“Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads,” Environment Canada stated. “If visibility is reduced while driving, slow down, watch for tail lights ahead and be prepared to stop.”

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Progress slow but steady at site of collapsed crane in Halifax
Progress slow but steady at site of collapsed crane in Halifax

At the peak of the storm, more than 33,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were off the grid. As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, over 13,000 remain in the dark.

Power was briefly knocked out in Dartmouth Thursday morning, stalling traffic on the Macdonald Bridge during rush hour. There was also a large outage reported in Halifax’s south and west ends impacting over 1,600 customers, but the outage has since been resolved.

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A tree fell onto the power lines outside Dartmouth resident Shea Armstrong’s home on Bel Ayr Avenue, resulting in downed wires and the power pole exploding. Armstrong was able to capture the whole thing on video.

“I was right by the window there and I’m looking out and it’s very bright,” Armstrong said. “So I just kind of held my phone over to the side, stood behind the wall and captured it.”

Halifax experiences downed wires and fallen trees as storm sweeps through Nova Scotia
Halifax experiences downed wires and fallen trees as storm sweeps through Nova Scotia

The power was knocked out for Armstrong’s block as soon as the explosions ended. Throughout Thursday afternoon, crews had the street blocked off as they tried to get power restored.

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“If our power goes out it’s usually a non-event. The power goes out, you swear, and that’s about it. But this was an interesting lead up to it for sure,” Armstrong said.

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Nova Scotia Power announced Tuesday it would be mobilizing personnel and resources ahead of the storm. Nova Scotia Power said it would be co-ordinating closely with the Emergency Management Office (EMO) and will restore power as soon as conditions are safe.

READ MORE: N.S. Power mobilizing personnel, resources ahead of Thursday’s storm

NB Power was also dealing with over 33,000 outages, with the majority coming from coastal areas. In P.E.I., Maritime Electric said there were 3,200 customers without power at 11 a.m.

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Dalhousie University closed its Halifax campuses for the day due to power outages. Saint Mary’s University announced in the morning that classes were cancelled until 5 p.m. due to power outages, but the university remained open.

Ferry crossings between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island were cancelled by Northumberland Ferries until further notice. Marine Atlantic also cancelled its 11:45 a.m. departures from North Sydney and Port aux Basques, N.L., due to weather conditions.