PEI

Harsh winds, heavy rain bash P.E.I. overnight

Hurricane Dorian slammed into the Halifax area Saturday evening and Islanders can be sure to expect heavy rain and powerful winds after it passes Nova Scotia.

Maritime Electric crews pulled off the road 11 p.m. Saturday night

Cory Gavin says a 'huge tree' went down in Crapaud, blocking the road and taking with it a power line. (Submitted by Cory Gavin)

By midnight Sunday, the number of Maritime Electric customers without power on Prince Edward Island sat at approximately 47,000, that was down from the 50, 000 earlier Saturday evening.

"We've been able to get some communities and pockets on across the Island," said Kim Griffin with Maritime Electric. 

But due to safety reasons, as of 11 p.m. crews were being pulled off the roads, except for a few crews to respond to emergencies only.

"The winds are still staying strong and the weather had continued to deteriorate so for safety reasons we felt that they should finish up as close to 11 as possible and only be responding if safe to do so during emergency situations." she said

Over 20 crews will return to work at 7 a.m., with surveyors and spotters going out ahead of the crews to assess the damage. At that time the utility may be able to give a better estimate as to when the Island's power will be restored. 

"Our biggest challenge right now is a full assessment, and until daylight we will not be able to have a full assessment," Griffin said, saying they have been hearing there have been lines down and trees down on lines. 

She encouraged people to report any damage they see to assist crews in their assessment. 

Department of transportation crews were also pulled off the road.

Randy MacDonald, Charlottetown's fire chief, asked people to stay off the roads. In a news release from the City of Charlottetown reported that there were "several dozen downed trees and branches as well as power poles and wires reported". The release said that crews were working to keep the roadways clear for emergency personnel. As of 9 p.m. Saturday, North River Road is closed between Burns Avenue and Warburton Drive, including access to Beach Grove Road, and by 2:30 a.m.  Mount Edward Road, between Hillside Drive and Woodlawn Drive, was also closed, both because of downed power lines.

RCMP Sgt. Leanne Butler said trees were falling down in all three counties, including "some on the roadways and some that have caused minor fires when coming into contact with the power lines." She also said RCMP had a number of calls of roofs coming off of houses. However, she said there was only one report of a vehicle collision, involving one vehicle going into the ditch, but no one was hurt. 

Tom MacLeod, chief of the Montague Fire Department, said firefighters responded to Beck's Home Furniture on Saturday as a portion of the roof came off the building.

"RCMP had already evacuated the house next door and there was a lot of people … scared that the roof would come off," he said. "We just closed off the roads for a while."

The latest from CBC's Jay Scotland

Islanders should expect heavy rain and powerful winds to continue across the Island overnight — especially over eastern P.E.I., said CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland, where the strongest winds are likely to occur.

Hurricane Dorian's track, as of 6 p.m. (Jay Scotland/CBC)

"Dorian may no longer be a hurricane but is still a very strong post-tropical storm producing hurricane-strength winds," Scotland said.

"Tropical storm force sustained winds will continue across P.E.I. with a chance for hurricane-strength winds over eastern areas as Dorian passes very near, or potentially over, eastern Kings County."

Winds are already gusting from 90 to well over 100 km/h, and may increase as the storm approaches, Scotland said. Much of P.E.I. could see gusts as high as 120 km/h, with even stronger winds possible over eastern P.E.I.

"Rainfall from 50 to around 100 millimetres is possible with the heaviest rain likely falling in western areas," he added.

"Regardless of where you are on P.E.I., the storm may be tracking to the east, but it's big enough that all of the Island will continue to feel its effects."

Strong winds are knocking down trees across the province and damaging property. (Submitted by Dennis McGillivray)

A tropical storm warning is in effect across Prince Edward Island, he said. A hurricane watch remains in effect for Kings County.

As Dorian passes, there is a risk of local flooding not only from heavy rainfall but coastal flooding is also possible, Scotland said, due to high waves and a potential storm surge especially in low areas.

A storm surge warning remains in effect across all three counties.

Travel 

After having restrictions in place most of the day, the Confederation Bridge closed at 8:30 p.m.

All flights out of Charlottetown Airport after 3 p.m. Saturday have been cancelled.

All ferry crossings between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia on Saturday were cancelled due to tropical storm warnings for the Island. 

Ferry service disruptions are also expected for Sunday. Officials say ferry service is not expected to resume until Sunday afternoon at the earliest. 

Shelter

An overflow shelter is open in Charlottetown in preparation for increased demand at homeless shelters due to Dorian.

Jack Blanchard Hall on Pond Street is open and is expected to stay open until at least noon on Sunday. 

That shelter has been a busy spot according to staff. 

"We actually haven't stopped all night. We fed a lot of people.," said Tami MacIntyre 

"We have some cots we have a couple of seniors so we have cots for those, we went out and bought some cots and sleeping bags and pillows. They're pretty snugly here, so it's all good"

For further information on closures and delays head to CBC P.E.I.'s Storm Centre.

Keep up-to-date on Hurricane Dorian with the CBC Maritimes live weather blog, updated every day.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Tina Simpkin, Anglea Walker

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