Hurricane Fiona: 280K Maritimers in the dark

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Strong winds and heavy rainfall from Fiona left nearly 500,000 Maritimers without power at the peak of outages.


The powerful post-tropical storm, which saw wind gusts as high as 141 kilometres per hour in Sydney, Nova Scotia, and estimates of more than 200 millimetres of rain, continued to make its way through the Atlantic region Saturday afternoon into the evening.


NOVA SCOTIA


As of 11 p.m. Sunday, 194,086 customers were without power in Nova Scotia.


Matt Drover, storm lead for Nova Scotia Power (NSP), says crews have been able to survey the damage after wind levels prevented them from doing so for much of Saturday.


“This is a big day for us,” said Drover during a news conference Sunday. “We are seeing extensive damage, in the eastern part of the province, specifically Cape Breton, where hundreds of poles have come down as trees have toppled over them from hurricane-force winds.”


He says NSP will start forming a plan on overall power restoration once the scope of the damage is better understood.


Drover says NSP has drones and helicopters in the air Sunday to determine the extent of the damage.


More than 1,000 utility crew members are on the ground in Nova Scotia Sunday, with more coming from Ontario, other Maritime provinces and the United States, says Drover.


He says the biggest challenge preventing power from getting back online in some areas is the crews’ ability to get there.


“So, we are working really closely with EMO on that, clearing roads, making sure we have access to all of those hard-to-reach areas, getting crews in there to repair those poles,” said Drover. “We had whole streets where trees have come down and broken almost every pole along that street.”


Drover asks anyone in Nova Scotia who is without power and has not seen their area on the NSP outage map to call the utility and report the outage.


NEW BRUNSWICK


As of 11 p.m. Sunday, 9,430 customers in New Brunswick were without power.


In an interview with CTV Atlantic, an NB Power representative noted that estimated restoration times are currently extending into Sunday evening.


“Outages continue to be reported as the weather system makes its way through New Brunswick, so we’re expecting more outages throughout the day,” the rep said, adding that while crews are active in each district, the southeast of the province is the hardest hit.


According to NB Power, more than 79,000 customers in the province have lost power since storm conditions began Friday night.


PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND


As of 11 p.m. Sunday, 80,794 customers were without power on Prince Edward Island.


In an update from P.E.I.’s EMO on Saturday afternoon, officials noted the recovery response will be in the “multi-millions.”


“In the past 12 hours, our province has experienced historic weather conditions caused by Hurricane Fiona,” Premier Dennis King said. “It’s been, to state the obvious, quite a day. And while we hope the worst is behind us, we know as of yet, the storm is not over.”


Officials say there have been no reports of significant injuries or deaths related to the storm.


Fiona brought winds over 170 km/h and storm surge over two metres to Prince Edward Island, resulting in downed power lines and flooding.


“By early accounts, the devastation looks to be beyond anything we have witnessed before in Prince Edward Island,” King said, adding that the province’s road to recovery will be “weeks or longer.”


Around 7 p.m. on Saturday, Charlottetown Police tweeted a warning about travelling on the roads, writing, “the amount of people on the roads is absurd.”


“If you are out for reasons other than an emergency or getting to your job as an essential worker, you are impeding clean-up and emergency vehicles getting through,” they added.

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