Storm Arthur aftermath: 'Extreme destruction' slowing rural repairs

As more than 100 crews continue to work on power outages throughout Nova Scotia, about 14,000 customers are facing a fourth day without power.

Thousands of people on Day 4 without power

People in Waldeck are among thousands in N.S. still cleaning up after the storm. 0:41

As more than 100 crews continue to work on power outages throughout Nova Scotia, about 14,000 customers are facing a fourth day without power.

Nova Scotia Power officials say the weekend storm did as much damage in some parts of western Nova Scotia as Hurricane Juan did, almost 11 years ago.

Neera Ritcey of Nova Scotia Power said the hardest hit areas are:

  • Greenwood
  • Kingston
  • Canning
  • North Mountain
  • Bear River
  • Clare

Those areas endured 140 km/h winds for several hours and saw "extreme destruction," she said. NSP has been restoring major feeders that generate for larger areas; it's now focusing on pockets called branch lines. Those rural areas won't get power until Friday. 

Firefighters are concerned about outlying communities, especially where seniors who live in remote areas.

CBC reporter Angela MacIvor was in the Bear River area Tuesday. She said there are trees down everywhere and many roads are closed. She said some in the community doubt all power can be restored by Friday.

“We’re used to storms in late September and October, but this early? Nobody’s ready, generators are not ready. It’s hit hard everywhere,” said Barry Tripper, a volunteer firefighter in Bear River.

Stacey Pineau of NSP says about 140 crews have been working on outages all over the province.  

About 17 crews worked overnight.

Pineau said the damage has been significant in some areas. 

“In some communities, our crews are dealing with tree damage that’s as bad as Hurricane Juan and our people have been working 16-hour shifts in some really challenging circumstances,” she said.

“People have seen some substantial trees down and some very large tree limbs that they've been having to deal with. We think that one of the main reasons for that is because of the number of leaves on the trees and how that resulted in a sail effect with the limbs and brought more trees and tree limbs down.”

Customers left in the dark

Mike Ouellette​ has been in the dark at his home in Cambridge — between Waterville and Coldbrook — since early Saturday morning

"In our subdivision, itself, there's no power but throughout the stretch of highway that runs past our neighbourhood we can see lights, power, right up and down that road. So it's a bit of a mystery to us," he said.

Ouellette says Nova Scotia Power hasn't provided accurate or updated information to his subdivision.

He says he and his neighbours think it's a minor issue that's keeping their power out while others nearby have theirs back on.

"But, you know, we're operating in a vacuum. Nova Scotia Power's website, and speaking to individuals there, they can't provide any detailed information on what the situation is and any accuracy on when power will be restored," he said.

Ouellette hopes his neighbourhood will get its power back soon or at least a clearer picture from the utility.

At its peak, there were about 144,000 homes and businesses in the dark. Tuesday morning there were about 17,000 customers without power, mostly in the western part of Nova Scotia.

"It means that they will have to, unfortunately, wait for a bit longer and we are certainly working very hard. We understand this is a real disruption for those people and we are not going to rest until we have every customer with their power back," said Pineau.

Most customers out now in Nova Scotia should have electricity by the end of the day Tuesday. But Pineau says some will not be reconnected until sometime on Friday.