Nova Scotia

Crews work to restore East Coast power as polar vortex arrives

Crews are working to restore power across Atlantic Canada while a polar vortex descends on the region still recovering after a massive storm brought hurricane-force winds.

Slightly more than 8,000 Maritimers are currently without power

Huge waves tower over the iconic lighthouse at Peggys Cove on Friday. (Robert Short/CBC)

Crews are working to restore power across Atlantic Canada while a polar vortex descends on the region still recovering after a massive storm brought hurricane-force winds.

The slow-moving mass of Arctic air is expected to bring the region's coldest temperatures on Friday night to New Brunswick. Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold warning for parts of the province, some of which will experience wind chill that will make it feel as cold as –38 C.

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In P.E.I., temperatures on Saturday and Sunday are expected to be around –14 C, with higher winds making it feel like – 27 on Saturday.

In Nova Scotia, temperatures will be coldest in Cumberland and Colchester counties, according to Environment Canada. With the wind chill, it is expected to feel as cold as –30 C overnight tonight for northern Nova Scotia. By Sunday morning, it could feel like –35 C. 

Josh Douthwright shovels snow at the entrance to the Federal Building on Highfield Street in Moncton, N.B., on Thursday. (Stephen MacGillivray/Canadian Press)

Power outage numbers

At 9:55 p.m. AT, there were about 8,000 outages reported on Nova Scotia Power's website. There are more than 1,000 people working on restoring power to Nova Scotia. The company said about 280,000 customers in total lost power on Thursday and Friday.

The majority of the remaining outages should be fixed Friday and "virtually all customers" should have power restored by Saturday, the company said in a statement.

In New Brunswick, outages peaked at about 19,500 power customers Friday, but were down to about 350, as of 10 p.m. AT. The provincial utility company expects power to be restored to the majority of customers by the end of Friday.

The road at Queensland Beach outside of Halifax was destroyed in Thursday's pounding surf. This isn't the first time this road has been destroyed in a powerful Atlantic storm. (Colleen Jones/CBC)

Maritime Electric on P.E.I. had outages affecting two customers, as of 9:24 p.m. AT.

The storm moved on to Newfoundland and Labrador overnight and knocked out power to most of the Northern Peninsula Friday morning. It was restored by about 10:30 a.m. local time.

Violent wind and waves washed out roads in parts of Nova Scotia. Highway 207 near Lawrencetown is closed. The Department of Transportation says there are several roads in Lunenburg County with debris on the road and in the Liverpool area, Western Head Causeway and Shore Road are closed.

Gusts of 170 km/h were recorded in Grand Etang, N.S., in the Cape Breton Highlands on Thursday night, though gusting winds across the rest of Nova Scotia stayed between 80 and 140 km/h. Wreckhouse in Newfoundland recorded wind gusts of up to 173 km/h overnight on Thursday. 

"Thirty-five years, I've never seen anything like this. This is worse than any hurricane we've ever had," said Walt Morris, who lives up the road from Nova Scotia's Queensland Beach, located about 50 kilometres from downtown Halifax.

The roof on the Halifax Water building in the Cowie Hill area of the city was heavily damaged by gusting winds overnight on Thursday. (Rob Short/CBC)

"You'd have to be an idiot not to believe there's climate change going on."

Parts of Labrador remained under blizzard or winter storm warnings Friday evening, most of Newfoundland was under a snow squall watch, while part of its southeast coast was under a wind warning.

Many roads across New Brunswick remained snow covered and unpassable on Friday.

Many flights scheduled to arrive in and depart from Halifax on Friday are delayed or cancelled. There were also a handful of flights cancelled or delayed at airports in New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland on Friday. 

Strong wind gusts have created a rip in the Moncton SportsDome, causing it to deflate. (Tori Weldon/CBC News)

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

With files from Jay Scotland, Kalin Mitchell

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