Nova Scotia

As rain falls over Nova Scotia, strong winds will return overnight

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses have lost power in Nova Scotia and while heavy winds have died down, they will be picking up steam overnight and temperatures will dip below zero in the province.

Winds up to 115 km/h are forecast for the province in the early hours of Friday

As winds picked up in Lunenburg, N.S., the scaffolding at the Lunenburg Academy collapsed. (Colleen Jones/CBC)

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses have lost power in Nova Scotia and while heavy winds have died down, they will be picking up steam overnight and temperatures will dip below zero in the province.

CBC meteorologist Kalin Mitchell said gusts of up to 115 km/h are expected overnight. From there, the winds will gradually slow down.

"It's going to be windy all day long on Friday," he said.

Here are the projected wind gusts for Nova Scotia at 4 a.m. AT Friday, expressed in km/h. (CBC)

The powerful nor'easter is tracking across the province. It brought heavy snow, ice pellets, rain and strong winds up to 120 km/h earlier Thursday, but is now mostly dropping rain on the province.

Flurries are expected in Nova Scotia on Friday, with temperatures falling throughout the day and remaining low for the weekend as a polar vortex descends on the region.

Power outages

As of 11:25 p.m., Nova Scotia Power reported more than 46,200 customers were without electricity, about one-third of them in the Halifax area. The outages are being blamed on high winds and are down from a peak of about 90,000.

Many schools and businesses were closed today in Nova Scotia. Halifax Regional School Board tweeted on Thursday evening that as of 7 p.m., half of its 134 schools are without power and that more cancellations are expected Friday.

A power crew at the Bayers Lake Business Park in Halifax on Thursday. (Robert Short/CBC)

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage urged people who live in flood-prone areas or places with only one point of exit to consider staying with family and friends.

"We're just asking people not to be complacent," he said.

Where to find comfort centres

Comfort centres have been set up in the Halifax Regional Municipality:

  • Sheet Harbour Legion, 23566 Nova Scotia Trunk 7. — Open until 11:30 p.m.
  • Moser River Community Centre, 36 Parlee Rd. — Closed for the evening.
  • Gaetz Brook Royal Canadian Legion, 6644 Nova Scotia Trunk 7, Head of Chezzetcook.
  • Musquodoboit Harbour Community Centre Rink, 67 Park Rd.
  • Station 26, 51 Old Trunk Rd., Oyster Pond.
  • Prospect Road Community Centre, 2141 Prospect Rd., Hatchet Lake.
  • St. Margarets Bay Road Community Centre, 1492 St. Margarets Bay Rd.
  • Canada Games Centre, 26 Thomas Raddall Dr., Halifax.
  • Station 16 Community Centre, 1807 Caldwell Rd., Eastern Passage.
  • Findlay Centre, 26 Elliot St.

Centres have already been set up elsewhere in the province, including:

  • Brookfield Fire Department, 110 Highway 289.
  • Woods Harbour Community Centre, 6881 Highway 3, Woods Harbour.
  • Island and Barrington Passage Fire Hall, 1081 Highway 330, Barrington Passage.
  • Amherst, at the fire hall at 62 Albion St.
  • Donkin, at the firehall on the Donkin Highway.
  • Louisbourg, at the firehall on Main Street.

Nova Scotia Power has also set up comfort centres at its payment depots in Chester, Kentville, Stellarton and Shelburne, and at the head office in Halifax. The comfort centres are now closed for the day as they're open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. They will reopen tomorrow and will keep opening until all outages are restored.

Nova Scotia Power CEO Karen Hutt said 1,000 employees are ready to respond to the outages, including 600 power line technicians.

A small outbuilding on Wright Avenue in Dartmouth, N.S., collapsed during the windstorm. (Olivier Lefebvre/Radio-Canada)

Hutt also pointed out that the outage repair map shows all customers will have their power back by Sunday at 11:30 p.m., but she said that is just a default restoration time.

  "We don't expect for a moment that all customers are going to be waiting until Sunday night," she said.

There's a strong possibility of coastal damage and flooding associated with the storm, with storm surge warnings issued for much of the province by Environment Canada, especially for the Atlantic coastline.

The Halifax Regional Municipality issued closures or caution about three roads late Thursday night as the storm surge gathered strength and began washing rocks onto the roadways.

The roads initially affected were:

  • St. Margarets Bay Road near Queensland Beach.
  • Shore Road in Eastern Passage.
  • Lawrencetown Road near Lawrencetown Beach.

Flooding worries in Halifax region

In Halifax, city officials said the following areas could be prone to flooding:

  • Entire Bedford flood plain.
  • Armdale Roundabout.
  • Low-lying areas adjacent to Purcells Cove Road.
  • Lawrencetown areas.
  • Bedford Highway, particularly near Mount Saint Vincent University.
  • Lower Water Street.
  • Alderney Gate Boulevard.
  • Inglis/Barrington streets.
  • Hammonds Plains/Bluewater.
  • Union Street in Bedford.
  • Pleasant Street, near Mount Hope Avenue in Dartmouth.
  • Cow Bay Causeway.

Mitchell said the high tide this evening combined with onshore winds means there could be washouts in coastal areas near Lunenburg and Liverpool.

Many flights scheduled to arrive in and depart from Halifax on Thursday are cancelled or delayed.

Marine Atlantic cancelled its Thursday and Friday crossings between North Sydney, N.S., and Port aux Basques, N.L. Crossings on Saturday, Sunday and Monday may also be affected.

Bay Ferries cancelled its Thursday sailings between Saint John and Digby, N.S., for Thursday. The company noted there is also a possibility crossings could be cancelled on Friday.

Halifax Transit shut down ferry and bus service on Thursday afternoon. Savage said the transit system will resume operating as per its normal start time on Friday.

Crews work on power lines in Lunenburg, N.S., as winds picked up on Thursday. (Colleen Jones/CBC)

Halifax's MacKay Bridge was closed to all vehicles Thursday afternoon as wind speeds increased, but it reopened to all vehicles Thursday evening. 

The storm is expected to sweep across Nova Scotia, then across P.E.I. and into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

A powerful nor'easter swept across Nova Scotia on Thursday, knocking out power and taking down trees, like this one in Lunenburg. (Colleen Jones/CBC)

With files from Kalin Mitchell