Remembering Dorian: How the 2019 storm left a trail of destruction
More than half a million people were left without power across the Maritimes, 400,000 in Nova Scotia
Hurricane Dorian is a storm that many across the Maritimes won't ever forget.
The most destructive storm to hit the region on record brought widespread heavy rain, pounding surf, damaging storm surge and severe winds.
Wharfs were destroyed, roofs were ripped from buildings, hundreds of trees broke or fell, and even a crane was toppled.
The bad weather is causing major damage throughout <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NS</a>, including a crane collapse in Halifax. <a href="https://t.co/YxpZ5mCfPa">pic.twitter.com/YxpZ5mCfPa</a>—@CBCNS
What made Dorian, which arrived one year ago today, such a historic storm was the spread of the damage.
With a track from southwest to northeast through the centre of the Maritimes, Dorian delivered wind gusts greater than 100 km/h across much of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and also southern New Brunswick.
Dorian transitioned from a Category 2 hurricane to a post-tropical storm as it arrived. That transition spread the damaging winds even wider from the centre of the storm.
In the end, more than half a million people in the region, 400,000 in Nova Scotia, were left without power.
Because there was so much wind damage, restoring power was a difficult task for utility crews. Despite hundreds of power crews being dispatched, some rural areas of the region were without power for up to nine days.
Day 8 restoration update: Thanks to the outstanding work of crews our <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dorian?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Dorian</a> response is nearly complete. There are approx. 1,000 customers remaining without power and we’ve got 930 power line technicians and 262 forestry technicians working today to get us over the finish line. <a href="https://t.co/nZMmKTDCs9">pic.twitter.com/nZMmKTDCs9</a>—@nspowerinc
The wicked winds caused widespread damage, however, storm surge also took its toll on some coastal communities, including Herring Cove and Ketch Harbour. Wharfs and sheds were smashed to pieces or washed away.
Given the damage sustained at low tide, it's unsettling to wonder what the damage would have looked like had Dorian arrived at high tide, especially for Halifax harbour.
Dorian vs. Juan
For many folks in the Halifax region, Hurricane Dorian didn't compare to the wrath of Hurricane Juan back in 2003.
However, as I mentioned in my breakdown last fall, while Juan was a more severe storm for the Halifax region, Dorian's impacts were more far-reaching across the region.
Also, had it not been for Juan's 'pruning' of the city's oldest and most vulnerable trees 16 years earlier, perhaps Dorian would have had a greater impact on the HRM.
Damage in Nova Scotia was estimated by the Insurance Bureau of Canada at $62.2 million, in New Brunswick at $22.2 million and in P.E.I. at $17.5 million.
That $102-million price tag makes it the most destructive storm on record for the region, topping Juan's $85 million in damage.
Dorian was also more destructive than Juan in Prince Edward Island, where the storm caused coastal erosion.
Thirty people had to be rescued when flood waters caused extensive damage to a campground in western P.E.I. In the Cavendish area of P.E.I. National Park, it's estimated that 80 per cent of the trees were damaged or downed.
In New Brunswick, Dorian ripped wharfs away. Around 60 boats were tossed and tangled by the winds and waves at the Shediac Yacht Club.
Active 2020 season continues
It's been an active start to the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season with 15 named storms already.
We've been fortunate so far, as we've only seen the weakened remnants of Laura moving through the region. However, as we near the peak of the season mid-month, we're very likely to see more storms develop in the tropics.
Dorian is a good reminder that we should all remain prepared for when that next storm comes up the coast.