Nova Scotia

'Weather bomb' hits N.S. with power outages, downed trees, flooding

A fall storm with strong winds and heavy rain made its way across Nova Scotia on Thursday, downing trees and causing power outages and flooding in a number of communities.

At peak of storm, 39,000 customers were without power across the province

Pedestrians struggled with umbrellas as high winds accompanied rainfall amounts of 40 to 70 millimetres during Thursday's storm. (Peter Dawson/CBC)

A fall storm with strong winds and heavy rain made its way across Nova Scotia on Thursday, downing trees and causing power outages and flooding.

Flooding was reported in a number of communities, including Liverpool, and Environment Canada warned of storm surges with potential to cause damage to wharfs, roads and other shoreline structures, as well as beach erosion.

The forecaster also warned of widespread gusts in the 70 to 90 km/h range, with gusts of 90 to 110 km/h along the Atlantic coastline from Yarmouth to Cape Breton.

By evening, all rain, wind and storm surge warnings had been lifted across the province.

In Dartmouth, the wind caused a series of fires and a power outage when parts of a tree hit a power line on Bel Ayr Avenue at 12:30 p.m.

Shea Armstrong said for about two hours, branches were coming off a tree near his home, striking the power line, catching fire and then eventually falling off.

One part of the tree caused a particularly dramatic scene as the power line arced more than 10 times, each time releasing a huge plume of flames and creating a strange electrical sound, Armstrong said.

"It was really, really loud and it's a noise that you've never heard — or at least I've never heard before in my life — just very electrical and unnatural and scary."

The last arc caused the power to go out, and Armstrong said crews later arrived to cut down the tree.

The storm also downed a large tree on Connaught Avenue in west-end Halifax. The tree fell across the street, between Quinpool Road and Oak Street, taking power lines with it.

On Wednesday, arborists were out in west-end Halifax cutting branches and trees weakened by Dorian, the powerful storm that hit the region more than a month ago.

Thursday's storm toppled a big tree that fell across Connaught Avenue in west-end Halifax, taking power lines with it. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

Crews also locked down the crane that toppled onto a downtown Halifax building during Dorian — which is still in the process of being removed — Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines said Wednesday.

"We were able to secure and fasten the various parts of the crane and we're feeling confident that that work has been done and will prevail during the storm," he said.

Power outages

Nova Scotia Power activated its emergency operations centre, and had about 450 front-line workers on the job across the province, including power line technicians, forestry crews and damage assessors.

The storm left power outages in its wake, but by evening, the number of affected customers dropped to about 5,000, down from a peak of 39,000 earlier in the day.

Nova Scotia Power spokesperson Andrea Anderson said the utility was not anticipating long-term, major power outages.

A storm Thursday brought heavy rain and high winds to Nova Scotia. (Peter Dawson/CBC)
 

The storm marks the season's first "weather bomb," which is a rapidly developing storm that drops 24 or more millibars of central pressure in 24 hours. This rapid strengthening makes the storm a bigger threat for strong winds.

Northumberland Ferries cancelled crossings between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island on Thursday morning until further notice. Marine Atlantic cancelled all its crossings Thursday between North Sydney, N.S., and Port aux Basques, N.L.

With files from Colleen Jones, Ryan Snoddon and Frances Willick

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