Tens of thousands without power after windstorm sweeps Nova Scotia

Image : CBC


A storm knocked out power to tens of thousands of Nova Scotians on Christmas Day as high winds blew trees onto power lines and broke utility poles.

By mid-morning on Tuesday, about 50,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were without electricity, down from about 90,000 at the peak of outages at 9 p.m. on Monday.

The company estimates most customers will have power restored by noon on Wednesday, Dec. 27, although many will see their electricity return Tuesday, spokesperson Sasha Irving said. Others may have to wait longer for repairs, depending on the extent of the damage.

“We also have weakened trees, and so there is a chance that there will be further outages today from those, but we have a good number of folks out there working very hard to safely restore power for our customers,” Irving said.

Nova Scotia Power said the storm caused “significant damage to the electricity system.” The company said it has about 400 people helping to restore service and 250 other workers on duty, including customer service staff.

A spokesperson for Nova Scotia’s Emergency Management Office said municipalities are responsible for opening daytime comfort centres to help residents get warm and charge their devices. Lori Errington said centres opened for a few hours in Lunenburg and Shelburne on Christmas Day.

Municipalities must also make a request to EMO in order for the province to open overnight emergency shelters. So far, no requests have been received, Errington said.

“At this point in time, that hasn’t been discussed,” she said. “But we’re still activated and open all day today, so we’ll certainly assess.”

No one from the Halifax Regional Municipality was immediately available to provide information about plans to open comfort centres or shelters.

Environment Canada had issued wind warnings for the entire province on Monday, cautioning of gusts up to 110 km/hr.

Flights, ferry crossings cancelled, delayed

Most flights travelling to or from Halifax Stanfield International Airport Monday evening were cancelled or delayed, but by Tuesday morning, most flights were scheduled to land and take off as planned.

Marine Atlantic has cancelled its 11:45 p.m. crossings between Port aux Basques, N.L., and North Sydney, N.S., on Tuesday. Both are now scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Dec. 27 at 11:45 a.m.

Bay Ferries has cancelled its crossings departing from Saint John on Tuesday at 8 a.m. and from Digby at 11 a.m.

Halifax Regional Police warned Monday night that cleanup from the storm would likely take days.

Some streets in downtown Halifax were closed Monday evening because glass and debris fell from high-rise buildings, police said.

A large fence, power lines and utility poles fell onto Pleasant Street in Dartmouth, closing the street for several hours near Everette Street. That street had reopened by Tuesday morning.

Christmas dinners disrupted

The disruption wreaked havoc on many residents’ Christmas dinners as they lost power before their turkey was finished cooking.

Nova Scotians expressed their disappointment — and hunger — on Twitter.

While one person joked she’d be eating “turkey tartare” and another said she’d simply opt for beer instead, others got resourceful and took their undercooked turkey dinners to a relative’s or friend’s house that had power. Yet others finished cooking dinner on the barbecue or woodstove or fired up the generator.

Leftover macaroni and cheese, raw carrots and Doritos were on the menu for one family, while another posted that they ended up eating Christmas dinner at McDonald’s.

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