Storm Arthur: Nova Scotians face hours without power

Thousands of people in Nova Scotia have no power as post-tropical storm Arthur moves northeast through the province, bringing high winds and rain.

More than 132,000 customers lose power as storm moves through province

CBC's Stephen Puddicombe looks at the chaos and damage caused by post-tropical storm Arthur as it touched down in the Maritimes on Saturday 3:00

Latest

  • Around 132,000 NSP customers without power
  • Estimated power restoration time 11:30 p.m.
  • Max. sustained winds of 110 km/h
  • Storm to hit Cape Breton in evening

It could take several hours for power to be restored to thousands of Nova Scotians as post-tropical storm Arthur sweeps through Nova Scotia.

Environment Canada says Arthur landed in the Meteghan area of southwest Nova Scotia at about 7:30 a.m. AT Saturday. Maximum sustained winds reached 110 km/h, with wind gusts of 116 km/h in the Halifax area.

The number of reported power outages steadily rose during the day. As of 8 p.m. Nova Scotia Power says approximately 132,00 customers were without power, a drop from 142,000 customers at 6:30 p.m.

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      The utility tweeted that it could take up to six to 12 hours to restore the large outages.

      Nova Scotia Power says it's experiencing a high number of online traffic and phone calls, which is overwhelming both systems. Many customers say they're unable to report more outages or get updates.

      Nova Scotia Power has 60 crews and 26 contract working to deal with outages.

      "Crews are working to safely restore service as quickly as possible," tweeted the utility.

      Fallen branches

      RCMP issued a warning about falling debris after a branch fell on a man in Onslow, trapping him underneath.

      Firefighters had to cut the tree branch to get him to safety. The man was "lucky" that he wasn't seriously hurt, RCMP said.

      Trucks have been zipping around for much of the day, carrying split tree trunks and tangled branches.

      In Halifax, Janis Brown woke up when she heard a loud "thunk." A tree fell on a power line near her house.

      "The pole that's attached to the house came off, landed on top of a car," said the Seaforth Street resident.

      Photographer Gary Brinton braves the elements on the rocks at Peggys Cove, N.S. as residents begin to feel the storm's effects. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

      “I’ve got to find an electrician in the meantime. Not easy on a Saturday."

      Michael Williams watched another tree fall in Halifax.

      "I heard a loud noise and I looked outside the window and saw a part of a tree fall down and just miss my car," he said.

      It was a wild wake-up call for Adrienne Comeau on Olivet Street. The wind punched through her apartment window. She’s weathering the rest of the storm with cardboard and plastic as a barricade.

      “I wasn’t scared, but I wanted to get the wind out of the apartment because the things were starting to rattle on the walls,” she said.

      “Maybe close your window folks,” chimed in her daughter Rachelle.

      The storm didn't stop Margaret McAloon from heading to the Dartmouth farmers' market.

      "We're going to go to other shops and go to the mall to do some errands and just do our typical Saturday morning manoeuvres," she said.

      Cancellations

      The storm has forced delays and cancellations at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

      The LaHave and Tancook Island ferries are tied up due to the weather.

      The ferry connecting Saint John, N.B., and Digby is also cancelled. Marine Atlantic has cancelled its evening trips between North Sydney and Newfoundland.

      The MacKay bridge that spans Halifax harbour is closed to high-sided vehicles.

      Unlike the wind, rain isn't expected to be as big of a problem.

      Storm effects

      "It looks like Nova Scotia, for the most part, will have a bit of a dry spell before the rain redevelops again later today as the system moves right across the province," said CBC meteorologist Peter Coade.

      The pins on the map mark reported power outages as of 9 a.m. Saturday. Nova Scotia Power's outage map is no longer working. (Nova Scotia Power)

      Environment Canada says large waves are expected along the Atlantic coast.

      The storm is moving northeast and is expected to leave the Maritimes overnight.

      Chris Fogarty, with the Canadian Hurricane Centre, said people in Cape Breton likely won't feel the effects of Arthur until Saturday evening.

      It’s a storm Vanessa Slaunwhite on the South Shore won’t forget for a long time.   

      “I went out for a cigarette and I thought a tree was going to fall on my head,” she said.

      “Kind of scary. I was inside of the bakery. Windows were rattling, fans coming flying out of windows. We were almost getting smashed in the face inside a bakery.”

      Her sister Amanda has a different recollection.

      “I slept right through it,” she said with a laugh.

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