Nova Scotia

Thousands of Nova Scotians endure a 3rd day without power

Just under 15,000 Nova Scotia Power customers remain without power Sunday night after an ice storm on Friday led to widespread power outages.

Outages began Friday morning in icy storm

Lori Furber and her husband had to bundle up after their power went out Friday afternoon. Power to their Lower Sackville home was restored Sunday afternoon. (Submitted by Lori Furber)

Thousands of Nova Scotia Power customers are enduring a third day without electricity after an ice storm on Friday led to widespread power outages across the province.

Lori Furber of Lower Sackville, N.S., a part of the Halifax area that's seen significant outages, lost her power Friday afternoon and saw the temperature in her house drop steadily.

"We're cold, we have lots of blankets on us," she said.

Furber said she has a small generator to heat water to make hot drinks, but it's not enough to power the furnace.

To make matters worse, Furber is unable to go to any of the warming centres open in the community, or to a friend or family member's house, because her husband is isolating at home with COVID-19.

"We can't risk exposing anyone else to COVID ... you're kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place, you've got nowhere to go," she said.

Furber was pleased to report her power came back on Sunday at around 3:30 p.m. AT, just an hour shy of the 48-hour mark from when she first lost electricity on Friday.

Thousands of customers still in the dark

The storm began knocking out power on Friday morning as a mixture of snow, rain, freezing rain and ice pellets swept through. On Saturday, as many as 53,000 customers were without electricity.

The utility's outage map showed more than 29,000 customers without power Sunday at 7 a.m. AT. By 6:30 p.m., the number had dropped to just under 15,000.

NSP workers trimmed ice-covered tree limbs that were touching power lines on Saturday night in Stillwater Lake. (Melanie Patten/CBC)

The outages are scattered across the province, with several clusters concentrated in the Cape Breton, Halifax and Annapolis Valley areas.

Estimated restoration times for some are now Monday evening.

But Nova Scotia Power storm lead Matt Drover said the utility is hoping to get most of the outages restored today, with priority going to those who have been out the longest, and the areas where the most customers are affected.

"There may be a few small pockets that go into tomorrow, most likely in those cases it'd be the areas that first lost power yesterday, where we had the significant freezing rain on Saturday," he said. "But the majority will be back on today."

Ice buildup on trees is one of the challenges Nova Scotia Power crews are facing as they work to restore outages across the province. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

Drover said crews are working around the clock to get people back on the grid. The utility is also getting help from outside contractors as well as New Brunswick Power.

Several warming centres will open on Sunday in some of the communities experiencing outages, including Beaver Bank, Halifax and Lunenburg, the province's Emergency Management Office said on Twitter.

An emergency overnight shelter will open in Halifax for those experiencing homelessness.

As of Saturday evening, there were no weather alerts or warnings left in the province, but temperatures remain well below freezing Sunday.

With files from Brooklyn Currie and Sarah Dery