Storm cuts power to thousands in Maritimes
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Sunday, March 9, 2008 10:35PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 7:49PM EDT
A massive winter storm that dumped snow across Central Canada finally began to fade in the Maritimes on Sunday, but not before leaving thousands of people without power.
The same weather system that left Ottawa with more than 50 centimetres of snow lashed the East Coast with heavy rain, knocking out electricity to thousands of people in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
In Quebec and Ontario, the storm temporarily left more than 80,000 homes without power, the majority in Quebec City, according to Hyrdo-Quebec.
Flight were also cancelled in the Toronto and Montreal airports. In the Ottawa airport, the Red Cross set up cots for the hundreds of people stranded there on Sunday.
Meteorologist Paul Delannoy happened to be stuck at the Ottawa airport, waiting for his wife's flight to arrive. He spoke to CTV Newsnet Sunday afternoon.
"There's hardly anything moving at the Ottawa airport," he said. "There are people sleeping everywhere, piles of suitcases and lots of people waiting for in-coming passengers who aren't coming."
Ottawa now has had 410.7 centimetres of snow this winter, the second highest total on record. In 1970-1971, Ottawa had 444 centimetres.
Virtually the entire St. Lawrence River corridor of Quebec remains under a winter storm warning today.
Meanwhile, two-metre snow drifts have been reported in parts of eastern Ontario and the Ontario Provincial Police have taken to using snowmobiles to get around in some areas.
Maritimes in the dark
In an all too common scenario, many Maritimers turned to candles and oil lamps as the storm system rolled into Atlantic Canada late Saturday night.
Several thousand people were without power overnight in Nova Scotia.
Glennie Langille of Nova Scotia Power said that a lightning strike knocked out a transformer near Saulnierville, a small community on the southwestern shore. She told CTV.ca that power was restored there by 1:30 p.m. local time.
The other area affected is in Cape Breton. Power there was expected to back sometime today.
In New Brunswick, NB Power listed about 350 customers without power, mostly in Moncton and Miramichi, on their website.
Northwestern New Brunswick is being told to expect another five centimetres of snow driven by strong winds of up to 80 kilometres per hour, but all weather warnings have been lifted for Nova Scotia.
As for P.E.I., several thousand customers were without power Sunday morning but were expected to have electricity restored by the afternoon, Maritime Electric spokesperson Kim Griffin told CTV.ca.
She said that most of the outages were caused by freezing rain weighing down the power lines. Weather warnings have been lifted for the province.
The storm is now heading to Newfoundland, where some combination of snow, rain or freezing rain is expected. Accumulations of 15 to 30 centimetres of snow are predicted for the Northern Peninsula.
The Avalon Peninsula could be in for some freezing rain over the inland areas, and up to 40 to 50 millimetres of rainfall along the coastal fringes.
Central Canada digging out
Back in Ontario, the storm left more than 45 centimetres of snow in the Ottawa, Barrie, Cornwall and Niagara Falls regions.
More than 40 centimetres fell in Montreal and the Eastern Townships, where higher winds made matters worse.
The storm led to a 20-car pile-up just east of Montreal that left 10 people injured. More than 600 accidents were reported in Toronto, including a tour bus that tipped over.
Police had urged everyone to stay off the roads if possible. In downtown Toronto, many heeded the advice.
"There's always one or two bad last snowfalls in March and this is debilitating. I have a truck that's only reason I know I can get around," one resident told CTV News.
The storm's length -- one dumping happened Friday, the second round lasted almost all day Saturday -- was particularly challenging for snow removal crews, who have about 20 cm of new snow to remove. The work isn't expected to be fully completed until Monday morning.
Air travel was seriously disrupted throughout the storm region. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, the country's largest and busiest air hub, saw more than 100 flights cancelled on Saturday.
The weekend marked the start of March break in Ontario, so many people were hoping for a warm weather getaway.
"I prayed so much last night, just to say, 'Dear God, let me please get out of Toronto and this weather!'" one woman said with a laugh.
Toronto is coming close to a record for snowfall this winter. One person is hoping this winter does end with at least one more solid dumping.
"I kind of hope we break the record. Why go all the way and not win the gold, so to speak?" he said.
Environment Canada is reporting Toronto needs another 17 centimetres to 'win' the all-time record. Toronto sits at 190 centimetres this winter, trailing the 207 of 1938-1939.