Atlantic Canada cleans up after Arthur strikes
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) — Arthur was moving across Newfoundland on Sunday a day after striking Canada’s Maritime provinces with near-hurricane strength winds and torrential rains, knocking down trees and leaving tens of thousands of people without power.
Environment Canada lifted all storm warnings in the Atlantic region in the wake of the potent storm.
“The storm has weakened significantly from 12 hours ago,” said Chris Fogarty, manager of the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Canadian Hurricane Centre. “Most of the impacts are over, with just a few heavy showers lingering in Newfoundland. They do have some gusty winds there, but nothing like we saw yesterday.”
Forecasters predicted strong winds of up to 43.5 mph (70 kph) would linger around Cape Breton on Sunday, but only 0.2 to 0.4 inches (0.5 to 1 centimeter) of rainfall was expected for Newfoundland, concentrated mostly on the Avalon Peninsula. The storm’s center is expected to move into the open Atlantic by late Sunday, but its dwindling effects will continue to be felt in Newfoundland overnight.
Arthur had been downgraded from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm Saturday morning before it slammed into Atlantic Canada, but the storm still packed a punch, drenching parts of New Brunswick and knocking out power to more than 250,000 customers at its peak intensity.
The strongest wind gusts were recorded Saturday in Greenwood, Nova Scotia, at 86 mph (139 kph) — the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane, the Canadian Hurricane Centre said. The storm caused flight cancellations and delays at the region’s largest airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
New Brunswick experienced the most severe rainfall, leading to localized flooding in cities such as Saint John and Fredericton, but none of the larger rivers rose to dangerous levels. The southwest town of Saint Stephen was soaked with more than 5.5 inches (14 centimeters) of rain by Sunday morning.
Crews were working Sunday to restore power to nearly 140,000 customers in New Brunswick and more than 90,000 in Nova Scotia. Prince Edward Island’s power utility estimates nearly 5,000 customers were without power.
Most customers were informed that it could take as long as two days before power is restored. Communities in the hardest hit areas of New Brunswick set up temporary charging stations so residents could power up their cellphones and other electronic devices.
Fredericton, the provincial capital, was one of the hardest-hit areas, with more than a third of the province’s blackouts occurring in the city’s greater municipal area.
Fredericton resident Mike Gange said the buffeting winds tore down a maple tree in his front yard, damaging roof tiles and a rain gutter as it fell. He said that as he drove around the New Brunswick provincial capital he saw about 25 homes with big trees knocked down.
Gange said he has not seen weather this severe in his 41 years in Fredericton.
“It’s like a Tasmanian devil ripping through your backyard,” he said. “It’s crazy here ... at times it rains so hard you can’t see 10 feet in front of you.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Prince Edward Island said a number of electrical poles had been knocked down by the storm and roads were blocked by downed trees.
Arthur reached Atlantic Canada after swiping earlier at North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where some vacationers were already back on beaches Saturday despite warnings that the water remained dangerous. The only road onto Hatteras Island was reopened to all traffic on Saturday afternoon. The island had been closed to visitors since early Thursday.
Power was restored to all of Ocracoke Island on Saturday night and officials have reopened the remote Outer Banks town to visitors. Now that the electricity is on, ferry service has resumed and the state of emergency has been lifted for the remote Outer Banks island which is only accessible by boat and plane.
The New England states were largely spared from damage spawned by the storm as it moved north, but there were some scattered power outages in Maine and Vermont and reports of localized flooding in coastal areas of Massachusetts.