New Brunswick

Dorian brings power outages, fires, floods to province

New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization is warning people in parts of New Brunswick to be prepared for a possible storm surge as a post-tropical storm batters Atlantic Canada.

Saint John EMO on highest activation level as post-tropical storm Dorian continues to bring high winds, rain

An uprooted tree in King Square in Saint John. (Submitted: Joe Blanchard)

Tens of thousands of people are without power in New Brunswick, as Saint John crews respond to reports of floods and fires caused by the high winds and rain brought on by Dorian.

The NB Power outages are concentrated around the Moncton area and southeastern New Brunswick.

NB Power spokesperson Marc Belliveau said the utility has 69 power line technicians, 20 vegetation crews and 52 contractors working to recover power.

More than 22,000 customers are without power in Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe. Shediac is reporting 11,000 customers without power with Kennebecasis Valley at 6,200.

Saint John Energy is reporting an additional 3,000 customers are without power in the city.

Saint John outages are concentrated around Sand Cove with 1,000 customers without power, as well as Lower West Saint John with 800.

Roads closed, EMO at highest level

Saint John EMO is at level 3 as of 8 p.m., which means all EMO resources are activated. In a statement, the organization is asking residents to avoid any areas covered in water, downed trees, power and communication lines, poles or debris. 

EMO said crews from fire, police, transportation and environment services and Saint John Energy are all on the ground and responding.

Heavy rain has caused flooding in Saint John, with water over the road on multiple streets. (Submitted: Saint John Police)

The organization said some barricades are being blown away by the high winds.

 "Please continue to exercise good judgment and extreme caution," the statement said.

Saint John emergency measures said it received reports of flooded basements, as well as structure fires and several fires due to power line and transformer interference and damage.

"Saint John Water crews are monitoring wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities. There are no impacts to customers at this time," the statement said.

Six areas are closed due to flooding, the statement said. They are:

  • McAllister Drive at Majors Brook Drive. 
  • McAllister Drive at Westmorland Road. 
  • McAllister Drive at Golden Grove Road. 
  • Westmorland Road between McAllister Place & Parkway Mall. 
  • Rotheasy Avenue at Retail Drive. 
  • Rothesay Avenue by Crosby's is down to one lane each way.

Twenty streets around the city have been closed due to obstructions. They are:

  • Whipple Street.
  • Sea Street.
  • Bayside Drive. 
  • Dominion Court.
  • Morley Crescent.
  • St. Coeur Court.
  • Gault Road. 
  • Martello Road. 
  • Conner Street. 
  • Manawagonish Road. 
  • Lawrence Street.
  • Crown Street.
  • Charlotte Street West, between Watson Street and Lancaster Street.
  • Paradise Road.
  • Lancaster Avenue.
  • Winter Street and Rockland Road.
  • Post Office Road.
  • Lornville Road.
  • City Line.
  • Alexander Street. 

Close call

In Dieppe, a downed tree collided with a moving vehicle, almost ending in disaster. Dieppe Fire Department captain-on-shift Rheal Legere said at around 4 p.m. Saturday, a person driving down Englehart Street was hit by a tree trunk that was flung toward him by the high winds.

Legere said the trunk collapsed the side of the passenger side completely, and "he was lucky" he was alone in the car.

"It was the trunk of the tree so it was pretty much an older tree that fell," he said.

Dieppe Fire Department responded to a call after a man was hit by a flying tree as he was driving down Englehart Street. (Wade Perry/Submitted)

Legere said he hasn't responded to anything else like that Saturday, but since he stated his shift at 8 p.m. the department has been getting calls "every 10 minutes," he said. Most of them are for fire alarms going off, trees falling over power lines and causing fired, and transformers exploding.

"Most of the calls are [challenging] because street lights were out and you're trying to go through the traffic," he said.

So far, there have been no injures.

"We didn't have anything that was really spectacular or anything, just trees and branches blown."

Winds, rain to continue

According to CBC Meterologist Ryan Snoddon, winds have gusted up to 78 km/h in the Saint John area. In Nova Scotia, winds gusted up to 141 km/h.

Snoddon said compared to other parts of Atlantic Canada, "it's been a rain story," for New Brunswick.

He said as of 7 p.m. Saturday evening, there are still between 22 to 55 millimetres of rain left to fall over the province overnight.

"There's still quite a bit of rain to come," Snoddon said.

Storm surge warnings

Kent County, Kouchibouguac National Park, Miramichi, Moncton and southeast New Brunswick all remain under a storm surge, according to New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization.

Environment Canada has Moncton, southeast New Brunswick and Fundy National Park under a tropical storm warning as well. 

Dorian was upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane at about 2:30 p.m. by the National Hurricane Center. But later on Saturday it was recategorized as a post-tropical storm.

Environment Canada has issued warnings for most of the Maritimes on Saturday. (CBC/Environment Canada)

Most of the province remains under a rainfall warning from Environment Canada.

The eye of the hurricane hit Nova Scotia in the early evening on Saturday, and is now making its way toward Newfoundland and Labrador throughout the weekend. 

Travel warnings

The Confederation Bridge closed to all traffic at 8:15 p.m.

Airlines are recommending anyone traveling out of the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport to check their flight status, as most arrivals and departures out of the airport have already been cancelled. 

Hurricane is expected to land in Nova Scotia on Saturday afternoon.

Some flights in and out of the Fredericton International Airport have also been cancelled. All flights in and out of the Saint John Airport have been cancelled.

Many balloon flights have also been cancelled in the province as well. Hot air balloons in Sussex at the Atlantic Balloon Fiesta had been scheduled to rise on Saturday afternoon, but the weather put a damper on those plans. 

"Unfortunately today here on Saturday things are not so great with the weather," said Alannah Pearson, volunteer committee member for the event. "We're hoping for a really great Sunday as well to make up for lost time."

The entire festival will shut down at 2 p.m. on Saturday, but will reopen on Sunday morning.

Follow the live weather blog

Keep up-to-date on Hurricane Dorian with the CBC Maritimes live weather blog, updated every day.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hadeel Ibrahim is a CBC reporter based in Saint John. She can be reached at hadeel.ibrahim@cbc.ca

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