Ice storm power outage could leave some in dark for 4 days

Power troubles continued throughout New Brunswick Monday as freezing rain spread throughout the southern half of the province, leaving more than 52,000 NB Power customers without electrical service by 10 p.m. Monday night.

More than 50K in dark in Rothesay, St. Stephen, Fredericton, Moncton and Sussex as freezing rain spreads

Power troubles continued throughout New Brunswick Monday as freezing rain spread throughout the southern half of the province, leaving more than 52,000 NB Power customers without electrical service by 10 p.m. Monday night.

A spokesperson from NB Power said it could take four days to restore power to all those in the dark across New Brunswick.

Some residents in St. Stephen and Rothesay were into their second day without electricity due to a slow-moving ice storm that caused power outages and travel chaos from Toronto through the Maritimes.

Some some and flames were evident when a tree limb came in contract with power lines in St. George on Monday. (Matt Bingley / CBC)
The power outages in both St. Stephen and Rothesay continued to worsen on Monday. By 10 p.m., more than 18,000 customers were without electricity in the Rothesay area.

The St. Stephen region had about 11,500 people without power by 5 p.m., up from about 3,000 when the day began.

Meanwhile, the problem spread to the Fredericton area, where almost 9,500 people had lost service by 5 p.m.

In Sussex, more then 7,500 people were affected and in Moncton, more than 5,200 were in the dark.

Utility working hard to restore power

NB Power spokesperson Megan Gerrish said crews are working diligently to restore power.

"It's been a lot of work in St. Stephen with stands and stands of trees over the lines," said Gerrish.

"You're talking to crews and they're working away. It's seven hours at one call," she said. "It's outrageous. There's a lot of ice and treacherous conditions to be working through."

In St. George, a shelter was set up Monday in Magaguadavic Place for those in the area who are still without power.

Sean Morton is the chief of EMO in St. George. (Matt Bingley / CBC)
Sean Morton heads the local Emergency Measures Organization in St. George and was involved in the decision to open the shelter.

"Anybody that hasn't had power for 24 hours is probably looking for a source of heat and maybe a little bit of electricity to charge their phones and things like that," he said.

"I just knew there was a lot of people that was out around that haven't had power. This will give them a chance to come in and if they need to get warm, they can get warm."

NB Power has contracted private sector crews from within the province to help with the restoration.

There are 30 crews working in the St. Stephen area.

The weight of ice brought down this tree in west Saint John. (CBC)
​Gerrish says crews from Moncton and Sussex will be redeployed into the Rothesay area Monday to put another 12 crews on the ground there.

Freezing rain warnings remain in place for the southern two-thirds of New Brunswick.

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CBC meteorologist Peter Coade expects the freezing rain in southern New Brunswick to change to rain Monday night as the trough of low pressure that has been almost stationary through the weekend to be pulled north Monday. Coade says that will also raise the likelihood of the snow in the rest of New Brunswick becoming mixed with or even changing to freezing rain later in the day.

The mixed bag of snow, ice pellets, freezing rain and rain will come to an end overnight Monday, said Coade.

Some flight cancellations of both arrivals and departures were reported throughout the day Monday at airports in Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton.

On the weekend, about half of the flights in and out of the airport were cancelled.

"It was the perfect storm being the busiest time of year for people travelling and the number of cancellations so eh, we had a bit of a mixed bag," said Hamilton. "We had 50 per cent of the flights cancelled.

"We did get quite a few of them off. But of course with all the cancellations, all the aircraft are in places where they aren't supposed to be. So that makes it doubly difficult."