Thousands still without power across Maritimes
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Tuesday, December 28, 2010 8:58PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 3:32AM EDT
Repair crews are racing to fix damaged power lines and restore electricity to thousands of customers in the Maritimes, but it will likely be Thursday before all customers once again have power.
Strong winds and heavy snow downed transmission lines and left tens of thousands in the dark on Monday.
At 7 p.m. ET Tuesday, NB Power reported 3,297 customers were without electricity. Meghan Gerrish, a spokesperson for NB Power, said crews were working to fix dozens of downed power lines -- work that likely won't be complete until noon Wednesday.
"Our crews are continually assessing the damage and continue to work safely and as quickly as possible to get power restored to our customers," Gerrish told CTV News Channel.
In Nova Scotia, where outages had affected up to 20,000 people at one point, 1,163 were waiting to turn their lights back on, mostly in the hard-hit Annapolis Valley.
While contractors have been called in to assist the utilities in repairing downed power lines, the Atlantic region Red Cross Director of Disaster Management said crews can only work as quickly as conditions permit.
New Brunswick bore the brunt of the latest storm, with up to 40 centimetres of snow accumulating, particularly in blizzards that hammered the north and along the Northumberland Strait.
Considering the province is still reeling in the wake of torrential rains that caused widespread flooding in southern regions just last week, the effect is devastating.
Speaking for the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, Karl Wilmot said besides the thousands of people whose lives have been disrupted, the storms have also taken a toll on some of his province's most sensitive eco-attractions.
The massive sand dune that stretches across Bouctouche Bay on the Northumberland Strait, for example, has taking a pounding.
"It is literally flattened, dunes are torn away," Wilmot said in an interview from Fredericton.
"We're still tallying totals, but the situation is that a lot of natural features along the southeast coast and toward the northeast section of the coast have been hit very seriously."
Because the severe weather has been so relentless, pounding the Atlantic provinces with four devastating storms in as many weeks, officials have not had a chance to properly assess the extent of damage done.
The low pressure system that began life off North Carolina before taking its crippling journey up the U.S. eastern seaboard into the Maritimes.
Newfoundland was expecting winter storm weather Tuesday and warnings were in effect for many areas in the province, like Postville and Cartwright.
Environment Canada said the area could be hit with up to 40 centimetres of snow through Thursday morning.
"This is a warning that dangerous winter weather conditions are expected in these regions. Monitor weather conditions," the weather service warned on its website Tuesday evening.
As the system drifts east-northeast, Environment Canada is also warning residents of Gaspesie, eastern P.E.I. and the east coast of Labrador to expect more snow and potentially damaging winds.
But forecasters are calling for a reprieve in the coming days. And residents of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick can already rest easy, as Environment Canada had no weather warnings in effect for either province Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, about 1,000 people in P.E.I. were still without power, a customer service representative told CTV.ca.
CTV's Halifax Bureau Chief Todd Battis said the break in the weather is much needed.
"For the first time in almost a month we can say there doesn't seem to be anything on the horizon, looming, ready to slam down on the region," he told CTV News Channel.