Weather bomb hits N.S. with power outages, downed trees, flooding – CBC.ca

\Weather bomb\ hits N.S. with power outages, downed trees, flooding - CBC.ca
Power outages, fallen trees as Maritimes rocked by strong fall storm
A fall storm with strong winds and heavy rain made its way across Nova Scotia on Thursday, downing trees and causing power outages and flooding.

Flooding was reported in a number of communities, including Liverpool, and Environment Canada warned of storm surges with potential to cause damage to wharfs, roads and other shoreline structures, as well as beach erosion.

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The forecaster also warned of widespread gusts in the 70 to 90 km/h range, with gusts of 90 to 110 km/h along the Atlantic coastline from Yarmouth to Cape Breton.

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.

In Dartmouth, the wind caused a series of fires and a power outage when parts of a tree hit a power line on Bel Ayr Avenue at 12:30 p.m.

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.

Shea Armstrong said for about two hours, branches were coming off a tree near his home, striking the power line, catching fire and then eventually falling off.

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.

One part of the tree caused a particularly dramatic scene as the power line arced more than 10 times, each time releasing a huge plume of flames and creating a strange electrical sound, Armstrong said.

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.

"It was really, really loud and it's a noise that you've never heard — or at least I've never heard before in my life — just very electrical and unnatural and scary."

The last arc caused the power to go out, and Armstrong said crews later arrived to cut down the tree.

“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.”

The storm also downed a large tree on Connaught Avenue in west-end Halifax. The tree fell across the street, between Quinpool Road and Oak Street, taking power lines with it.

“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.”

On Wednesday, arborists were out in west-end Halifax cutting branches and trees weakened by Dorian, the powerful storm that hit the region more than a month ago.

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.

Crews also locked down the crane that toppled onto a downtown Halifax building during Dorian — which is still in the process of being removed — Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines said Wednesday.

"We were able to secure and fasten the various parts of the crane and we're feeling confident that that work has been done and will prevail during the storm," he said.

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.

Nova Scotia Power activated its emergency operations centre, and had about 450 front-line workers on the job across the province, including power line technicians, forestry crews and damage assessors.

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.

The storm left power outages in its wake, but by evening, the number of affected customers dropped to about 5,000, down from a peak of 39,000 earlier in the day.

Nova Scotia Power spokesperson Andrea Anderson said the utility was not anticipating long-term, major power outages.

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.

The storm marks the season's first "weather bomb," which is a rapidly developing storm that drops 24 or more millibars of central pressure in 24 hours. This rapid strengthening makes the storm a bigger threat for strong winds.

Northumberland Ferries cancelled crossings between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island on Thursday morning until further notice. Marine Atlantic cancelled all its crossings Thursday between North Sydney, N.S., and Port aux Basques, N.L.

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HALIFAX — Thousands of Maritimers lost power on Thursday as a slow-moving fall storm crawled through the region, bringing downpours, powerful gusts and toppled trees.

Forecasters said sustained winds of about 60 kilometres per hour hit parts of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, with some coastal gusts reaching 90 km/h.

Nova Scotia Power reported more than 33,000 customers without power as of just after 2 p.m. local time, although the number fell steadily as the storm abated through the afternoon and evening. By 5 p.m., it was down to roughly 8,600.

NB Power was still listing more than 13,000 outages at 6 p.m., while P.E.I.s Maritime Electric was at slightly over 2,000 customers without power.

Environment Canada meteorologist Ian Hubbard said the system didnt pack the punch of post-tropical storm Dorian, which walloped the region in early September, but it was more powerful than a "typical fall storm" in Atlantic Canada.

Rainfall warnings were issued for some parts of the region, with amounts expected to hit 50 to 70 millimetres.

Nova Scotias Emergency Management Office said in a tweet that high water levels were expected during high tide, potentially causing floods and coastal erosion at beaches and damaging infrastructure.

Social media posts showed trees down around Halifax, and water streaming along streets in Saint John, N.B., as the storm peaked in the middle of the day.

Gusts in Cape Cod, Mass., where about 200,000 residents lost power, were reported to reach speeds of 140 kilometres per hour.

In Portland, Maine, the atmospheric pressure at sea level — an indicator of the strength of a storm — was the lowest ever recorded in October, said William Watson, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Weather Service.

The storm was expected to gradually shift east over Cape Breton in the late afternoon and evening, while parts of western Newfoundland were expecting some strong evening winds as well.

Thousands of Maritimers lost power on Thursday as a slow-moving fall storm crawled through the region, bringing downpours, powerful gusts and downed trees.