New Brunswick

Thousands still without power after snow, strong winds pummel Atlantic Canada

Thousands of customers are still living in the dark after a major snowstorm whipped through Atlantic Canada on Thursday, forcing several schools to close across the region.

'Cleanup will be well into days and weeks ahead,' Maritime Electric says

Thousands of households are still in the dark following a major storm that battered Canada's East Coast on Thursday. (Shane Fowler/CBC )

Thousands of households are still living in the dark after a major snowstorm whipped through Atlantic Canada, forcing several schools to close and warming centres to be set up across the region Friday.

The major snowstorm that barrelled through Canada's East Coast on Thursday came with high winds and wet, heavy snow that brought down several power lines across the region throughout the day. 

Power outages peaked Thursday at more than 300,000 customers — with nearly 250,000 of those Nova Scotia Power customers. That number has since dropped to more than 7,000 in the province.

The combination of strong wind and wet snow brought down power poles. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The outages that remain are concentrated in northern and northeastern Nova Scotia, with the bulk of them in Amherst, Stellarton and Tatamagouche.

The company says it will update restoration times throughout the day.

"Restorations have been particularly challenging in the northeastern area of the province where crews have been dealing with trees contacting power lines and downed wires," Sean Borden, Nova Scotia Power's storm lead, said in a statement.

Outages persist in P.E.I.

In P.E.I., outages peaked at 80,000 for Maritime Electric with all 7,000 Summerside Electric customers out as well. There are about 25 customers in Summerside without power today, and the city's utility says the outages could last until late Saturday or early Sunday.

On Friday afternoon, close to 5,000 Maritime Electric customers were still affected by the outages.

Crews outside the province are helping restore power, and the utility said the cleanup work will be ongoing.

"We're still in major storm recovery mode for us. Cleanup will be well into days and weeks ahead," said Kim Griffin, a spokesperson for Maritime Electric. 

In addition, problems with the underwater cable that connects the grid to New Brunswick cut off the flow of electricity from the mainland.

In New Brunswick, close to 4,000 NB Power customers are still without electricity. At the storm's peak, NB Power about 46,000 customers were without electricity after 80 kilometre an hour winds hit the province. 

Most of the customers still affected are in Kent County, where close to 1,500 households are experiencing outages.

Marc Belliveau, a spokesperson for NB Power, said more than 90 crews are restoring power across the province. Power is expected to be restored to residents sometime Friday.

In the meantime, Belliveau is asking customers to stay away from downed lines or trees on wires, and for households without power to unplug items. 

"This cold load pickup is causing repeat outages as we restore power and slows our progress," he said. 

About the Author

Elizabeth Fraser

Reporter/Editor

Elizabeth Fraser is a reporter/editor with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. She's originally from Manitoba. Story tip? elizabeth.fraser@cbc.ca

With files from the CBC's Kevin Yarr,

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