Atlantic Canada expects slow recovery from Fiona's wrath
Homes, businesses destroyed and hundreds of thousands are still without power
People across Atlantic Canada are beginning to assess the damage and clean up after post-tropical storm Fiona swept through the region Saturday.
Remnants of Fiona were over southeastern Labrador early Sunday, merging with a trough — a long region of low atmospheric pressure.
Fiona spent Sunday morning moving inland in southeastern Quebec as a post-tropical storm, according to Environment Canada and is expected to dissipate over the Labrador Sea.
The agency said all wind warnings associated with the storm have ended.
In Newfoundland, some homes were washed away or flattened, others were flooded, roads were washed out and people were evacuated.
The damage was most striking in Port aux Basques, where boulders and debris were scattered across the community. Along with Burnt Island, Port aux Basques is still under a state of emergency order.
On Sunday morning, CBC meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler said the bulk of the damage in Port aux Basques was caused by storm surge.
The body of a missing 73-year-old woman from Port aux Basques who was displaced during the storm after her home was damaged was recovered on Sunday afternoon. She was located in the water.
Newfoundland Power said in a statement it's continuing to do damage assessments and crews are "making good progress restoring power," while they work on removing large trees from power lines. The utility added that restoration times will be posted online as they become available.
In Nova Scotia, hundreds of thousands of customers were without power on Sunday, and the Canadian Armed Forces has been called in to help restore electricity.
During a briefing on Sunday, Premier Tim Houston said Fiona "definitely left a mark on the province," calling the damage left behind "heartbreaking."
The premier also said the province's top priorities are ensuring people have safe shelter and restoring power to those without electricity.
Nova Scotia Power president Peter Gregg said in a statement Sunday that the utility knows "there will be customers who face outages for multiple days" given the damage created by the storm.
Two municipalities in Cape Breton declared a state of emergency.
About 200 people there had to leave their homes after they were damaged in the storm. They've been moved to comfort centres at the Coast Guard College and the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre.
As well, public school classes in the Halifax Regional, Cape Breton-Victoria Regional, Strait Regional and Chignecto-Central Regional centres for education have been cancelled for Monday in the aftermath of the storm.
Ottawa has also approved Nova Scotia's request for funding for disaster assistance to help municipalities repair damaged infrastructure, and to assist individuals and small businesses pay for uninsured losses
On Sunday the federal government announced that it would match donations made to the Canadian Red Cross by individuals and corporations to support relief efforts in the region. A news release said the donation matching program will be in effect for the next 30 days with the possibility of an extension.
On Prince Edward Island, winds hit 150 km/h and almost 100 millimetres of rain fell, homes and businesses were damaged and flooded, and at one point about 95 per cent of Maritime Electric customers had lost electricity.
Premier Dennis King said Sunday that his province's road to recovery "will be weeks or longer" since the damage may have been "the worst we've ever seen" from a tropical storm.
The Canadian Armed Forces has been tapped to assist P.E.I. with cleanup efforts. King said at a news briefing Sunday afternoon that 100 military personnel would arrive to the Island Sunday night to assist the province's recovery and cleanup effort.
Residents in Charlottetown are now being asked to stay off the roads and shelter in place after the storm rushed over the Island. Schools across the province will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, with a further announcement to come.
A Bell Aliant spokesperson said the storm caused widespread outages on the Island, triggering backup systems to activate on all wireless sites. "The power outage is straining everyone's resources, but our team is working extremely hard to help keep Islanders connected," the spokesperson said.
In New Brunswick, roads were flooded, a bridge was destroyed and tens of thousands were without electricity. Residents there are also being asked to stay away from dangerous, storm-ravaged areas.
Bill Hogan, the province's public safety minister, said it will take time to fully calculate the damage caused by post-tropical storm Fiona, but he expects help will be made available to affected residents. He also said there was a "significant" amount of coastal erosion and damage to infrastructure along the east coast of the province.
The province has asked the federal government for assistance and that Ottawa is prepared to help in any way it can, Hogan added.
Marine Atlantic said in a tweet Sunday morning, regularly scheduled sailings have resumed following the storm.
Power outages were still widespread as of Sunday night, with more than 285,000 customers in the dark across the four Atlantic provinces, including more than 190,000 in Nova Scotia.
- 'Total devastation' as Port aux Basques declares state of emergency due to post-tropical storm Fiona