Monday, December 23, 2013

Ice storm leaves thousands without power in southern N.B.

St. Stephen, Rothesay hardest hit by freezing rain conditions that persist through much of province

CBC News Posted: Dec 23, 2013 6:42 AM AT Last Updated: Dec 23, 2013 2:03 PM AT
The number of New Brunswickers without electricity grew to more than 15,000 on Monday afternoon, with Fredericton and Moncton joining the list of areas struggling with power outages.

Some residents in St. Stephen and Rothesay are into their second day without electricity due to a slow-moving ice storm that caused power outages and travel chaos from Toronto through the Maritimes.

In southwest New Brunswick, the number of customers without power was about 7,900, more than double the number reported early Monday morning.
Thousands of people in both the St. Stephen area and Rothesay have been without electricity since Sunday.

By mid-afternoon, the number of affected customers in Rothesay was approaching 5,400.
Meanwhile, more than 1,200 customers in the Fredericton area were affected by outages.
In Moncton, almost 600 customers were left in the dark. It is unclear if the Moncton outage is related to the weather.

Smaller outages were being reported in Sussex and Bathurst.

N.B. Power spokesperson Megan Gerrish said crews are working diligently to restore power.
"It's been a lot of work in St. Stephen with stands and stands of trees over the lines," said Gerrish.
"You're talking to crews and they're working away. It's seven hours at one call," she said. "It's outrageous. There's a lot of ice and treacherous conditions to be working through."
In St. George, a shelter was set up Monday in Magaguadavic Place for those in the area who are still without power.

Sean Morton heads the local Emergency Measures Organization in St. George and was involved in the decision to open the shelter.
 "Anybody that hasn't had power for 24 hours is probably looking for a source of heat and maybe a little bit of electricity to charge their phones and things like that," he said.

"I just knew there was a lot of people that was out around that haven't had power. This will give them a chance to come in and if they need to get warm, they can get warm."
N.B. Power has contracted private sector crews from within the province to help with the restoration.

There are 30 crews working in the St. Stephen area.

Gerrish says crews from Moncton and Sussex will be redeployed into the Rothesay area Monday to put another 12 crews on the ground there.
Freezing rain warnings remain in place for the southern two-thirds of New Brunswick.
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CBC meteorologist Peter Coade expects the freezing rain in southern New Brunswick to change to rain tonight as the trough of low pressure that has been almost stationary through the weekend to be pulled north today. Coade says that will also raise the likelihood of the snow in the rest of New Brunswick becoming mixed with or even changing to freezing rain later in the day.

The mixed bag of snow, ice pellets, freezing rain and rain will come to an end overnight Monday, said Coade.

Flight cancellations of both arrivals and departures are reported at airports in Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton, but some flights are reported as being on schedule.
John Hamilton of the Fredericton airport said it's expected all flights will be on schedule after 9:30 a.m. Monday.

It was a different story on the weekend when about half of the flights in and out of the airport were cancelled.

"It was the perfect storm being the busiest time of year for people traveling and the number of cancellations so eh, we had a bit of a mixed bag," said Hamilton. "We had 50 per cent of the flights cancelled.

"We did get quite a few of them off. But of course with all the cancellations, all the aircraft are in places where they aren't supposed to be. So that makes it doubly difficult."
The Department of Transportation's 511 service reports all roads in the province are either snow covered, or partly covered.


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