New Brunswick

Thousands still without power as Dorian cleanup continues

People still without power after Dorian blew through on the weekend should see it restored by Monday evening or early Tuesday morning, according to NB Power's website.

Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe saw the brunt of power outages this weekend

NB Power said broken trees falling on power lines caused the majority of the outages. (CBC)

People still without power after Dorian blew through on the weekend should see it restored by Monday evening or early Tuesday morning, according to NB Power's website.

About 80,000 customers in New Brunswick were left in the dark Saturday when the remnants of Hurricane Dorian brought high winds and heavy rain to the Maritimes.  

On Monday morning, roughly 15,000 customers remained without power, but that number had dropped to 2,990 as of 9:30 p.m.

"There could still be some customers today that could go into tomorrow without electricity, but we're really expecting to do the lion's share of the 15,000 today by late afternoon [or] late evening," said NB Power spokesperson Marc Belliveau.

Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe received the brunt of power outages, with 23,000 left in the dark at one point.

Broken trees are to blame for most of the outages. Belliveau said some of the trees are falling over because their roots are over-saturated from the rain.

"They have no power to hold onto the ground anymore and they're tumbling over."

NB Power has 71 crews and 71 contractors working to restore power in the southeast part of the province. 

Customers who see a downed power line are asked to call 1-800-663-6272.

After power is restored in New Brunswick, Belliveau said, the company plans to help with power restoration in Nova Scotia. As of 9:30 p.m. Monday, there were still 112,190 Nova Scotia Power customers without electricity.

Cleanup is underway after Hurricane Dorian swept through the province on Saturday. 0:43

Some Bell Aliant customers in New Brunswick experienced phone, internet and TV outages following the storm.

"A limited number of our sites in southeastern New Brunswick were impacted by power outages," spokesperson Katie Hatfield confirmed in an email.

"We're working closely with NB Power to get full power restored to the few remaining sites as soon as possible," she said.

Customers may need to turn their internet modems or TV receivers off and on again to reboot their services once power is restored, she added.

No one injured

Geoffrey Downey, spokesperson for the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, said there were no injuries in the province related to the storm.

EMO spent the weekend monitoring the storm and will be assessing its damage today. 

"It looks like it probably could have been a lot worse, as we've seen in Nova Scotia," Downey said. 

Trevor Goodwin of the YMCA of Greater Moncton's ReConnect Street Intervention Program said four people who stayed outside in the tent city on Albert Street "fared very well," although one tent's interior was soaked from the rain.

Moncton's Harvest House provided shelter to 80 people, nearly double the regular occupancy.

Cleanup continues

While cleanup efforts continued across the province, the City of Saint John reminded people they shouldn't salvage fallen city trees or walk under or climb on downed trees and power lines. Saint John Energy said people should stay 10 metres from fallen lines.

Jeff Hussey, Saint John's  deputy commissioner of transportation and environment services, said city crews worked nearly 14 hours Sunday fixing downed trees and power lines. 

"We had a lot of trees coming down city-wide," Hussey said after the damage. 

"These trees were impacting our roadways, our pedestrian ways, pulling up sidewalks and things like that and also taking down power lines with them."

Dorian downed several trees in Saint John's King's Square on Saturday. (Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon/CBC)

He said several roads in the Glen Falls area still need to be cleared and Fundy Drive remains closed because of a fallen tree. The city said it would reopen Monday afternoon.

Once all trees blocking roadways are removed, Hussey said, EMO will assess split and damaged trees. 

"If those trees are compromised beyond rehabilitation, then they'll have to come down for safety reasons."

Several of the oldest trees in the city, some of them more than 130 years old, were uprooted by Saturday's high winds, said city arborist Chris Gaudet.

It's a big loss, he said.

"One big elm came down and the elms are becoming few and far between now with the Dutch elm disease. So it's sad to lose one of them," said Gaudet. "It's devastating to lose any tree that size. They've withstood a lot of things and to see them blow over like that is heartbreaking, really."

Bill Quartermain said the toppled trees in King's Square are a loss to the city, as well as tourists, who enjoy visiting the park. (CBC)

Seven of the fallen trees were in the city's iconic King's Square.

"I'm devastated, just devastated," said resident Beverley James, who heard about the damage on the news and decided to take a look herself. It was much worse than what she anticipated, she said.

"I just got really emotional because I played in this park when I was a little girl … It's just going to be so different now. I mean, we've lost a bit of history."

Bill Quartermain, who walks through the square almost every day, couldn't believe the extent of the destruction. He called it a "travesty."

Donna Thompson, who was out storm-watching Saturday night, said she saw one of the first trees fall. It created "a big crash," she said.

Thompson went back to the park on Monday and said she'll never doubt the power of Mother Nature.

"This was just supposed to be the tail end of [Dorian]. You can imagine if we were in the centre of the eye of the storm, it really definitely would have did a lot more damage."

Tara Gartke said the water on the streets of Pointe-du-Chêne rose so high, she couldn't get out. (Gabrielle Fahmy/CBC)

In Pointe-du-Chêne, homeowners and businesses were dealing with power outages, uprooted trees and flooding.

Tara Gartke, who lives just steps from the ocean, said she was terrified as she watched the water rise.

"It was hell. It was scary," she said.

"My neighbours came to get me out. The water was up to our hips here. We couldn't get out of here."

Storm surge is a big concern for those who live close to the water. That's why Gartke built shelves suspended from the ceiling in her basement.

She was relieved when she went downstairs on Monday to assess the damage. '

"I think this is OK. You don't know how happy that makes me."

It's the kind of storm that nobody's seen before.- Gerry O'Brien, Shediac Bay Yacht Club manager

Dave Redfern, whose boat Primrose was moored at the Shediac Bay Yacht Club, wasn't as fortunate.

"It's lying at a 45-degree angle, so it's not floating," he said.

"I was prepared for maybe some movement here or something. I wasn't prepared for what I call a disaster."

His was one of dozens of boats damaged as the wharf let go.

"It's the kind of storm that nobody's seen before," said club manager Gerry O'Brien.

Dave Redfern's boat, Primrose, was one of dozens Dorian tossed like toys at the Shediac Bay Yacht Club over the weekend. (Gabrielle Fahmy/CBC)

Although the biggest vessels were moved out ahead of the storm, there were still about 60 boats tangled together.

He expects the cleanup will take three or four days.

'We have a wind crane that's been brought in," O'Brien said. "We have a second crane coming in tomorrow. We have an extra four guys that'll be coming tomorrow.

"Today we've got two crews. So far we have about 10, 12 boats that we've kind of dislodged that didn't have too much damage."

Day off for students

Power outages forced several schools in the Anglophone East School District to stay closed on Monday. 

Caledonia Regional High School, Edith Cavell School, Hillsborough Elementary School, Port Elgin Regional School, Riverside Consolidated School, Riverview High School, Shediac Cape School were closed.  

St. Martins School in the Anglophone South School District was also closed because of a power outage.

Officials are urging citizens to stay clear of uprooted trees, such as these ones in Saint John's King's Square, for safety reasons. (Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon/CBC)

With files from Gabrielle Fahmy and Graham Thompson

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