'It is slow going:' Power still out for thousands on P.E.I.

Maritime Electric continues to struggle to restore power to thousands of customers on P.E.I. as the province deals with its first serious snow of the season.

Maritime Electric calls in 7 crews from New Brunswick to help restore power

A Maritime Electric crew works to fix downed power lines near Cardigan after a November storm hit P.E.I. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Maritime Electric continues to struggle to restore power to thousands of customers on P.E.I. as the province deals with its first serious snow storm of the season.

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Dozens of communities remain without power, with about 4400 customers affected as of Monday at 8 p.m. AT, as high winds have taken down power lines.

"We won't have everyone on tonight and it could be late Tuesday or Wednesday but we are still accessing some areas for restoration," said the utility's spokesperson Kim Griffin. "It is slow going." 

The utility has to replace 100 poles due to the storm —  90 per cent of those in eastern P.E.I., Griffin said.

It's also called for assistance from New Brunswick. Griffin said seven crews arrived Monday night and will be ready to help Maritime Electric crews Tuesday morning. The next update on the power situation will be Tuesday at 6 a.m., she added.

Warming shelters have opened at the Murray Harbour Community Centre, at the fire hall in Cardigan, P.E.I., and at the Old School in Lower Montague, P.E.I.

A warming centre at the food bank in Montague, P.E.I., will open Tuesday at 8 a.m.

Multiple cancellations

Weather conditions caused Northumberland Ferries to cancel all sailings Monday.

A Maritime Electric crew member high atop a cherry-picker truck near Cardigan secures a power line after a storm Monday knocked out power to thousands of Islanders. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Schools in the Morell, Souris and Montague families closed for the day, as did Donagh Regional school and the French language school in Souris. Other public schools opened with a one-hour delay.

All provincial civil service offices in the Montague area closed for the day.

Wind, ice and heavy snow

The trouble started Sunday. The storm had knocked out power to thousands by the end of the day.

Several schools have closed on B.C.'s South Coast with up to 20 centimetres of snowfall expected for the region. (Laura Meader/CBC)

"It's been the worst kind of storm because it's not only been wind but it's been ice and heavy wet snow, so we are certainly getting reports of lines down and broken poles," said Maritime Electric spokeswoman Kim Griffin.

Visibility was a problem for crews overnight, said Griffin. 

The situation is worst in eastern P.E.I., particularly from Morell to Souris. One report from Iona had the power out there since 4 p.m. Sunday.

The amount of snowfall varied "from just a few centimetres in Prince County to as much as 18 centimetres just west of Charlottetown," said CBC meteorologist Jim Abraham. Road conditions continue to vary across the province.

Snow-covered trees brought down power lines across the province, says Maritime Electric. (Maritime Electric/Twitter)

With files from Mitch Cormier