Monday, September 22, 2014

Strong wind and heavy rain warnings persist in Newfoundland

Fall storm whipped up tree branches, caused widespread power outages in the province

CBC News Posted: Sep 22, 2014 6:10 AM AT Last Updated: Sep 22, 2014 2:05 PM AT
An area of low pressure moving northeast towards Newfoundland and bringing high winds left tens of thousands of people in Nova Scotia in the dark Monday.

Most of the outages were in the Halifax region.

High wind and rain warnings have ended for Nova Scotia as the storm heads northeast.
However, the entire island of Newfoundland is now under severe wind warnings with gusts expected to reach up to 120 km/h.

There are also rain warnings for eastern Newfoundland. Those parts of the island could see as much as 90 millimetres of rain.

Snowfall warnings are in effect for Labrador City, Wabush and the Churchill falls area.

As of 1 p.m. AT, about 4,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were in the dark. At its peak, more than 50,000 NSP customers were left without power.

CBC meteorologist Kalin Mitchell says, unofficially, the Bedford Basin received 90.1 millimetres of rain during the storm.
Neera Ritcey, spokeswoman for the utility, says NSP was prepared for the outages with 80 or more crews on standby Sunday night, plus another 50 or so contractor and tree crews.

"We have been preparing since we saw the forecast. We have had 82 Nova Scotia Power crews on standby to be deployed this morning at the first light of day across the province as needed," she says.

Ritcey says it may take until Monday evening to fully restore power to some.

"The restore times are based on our best estimates at the time, so what we’re doing this morning, with the daylight starting to appear, our crews are doing an assessment of the extent of  the damage," she says.

"Because of that, it’s unsafe for crews to be going up in buckets to do the restoration work so we have to first make sure that the winds slow down to a certain degree before we can start that work," says Ritcey.

The outages and high winds have prompted the cancellation of Marine Atlantic ferries Monday between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Also, there are several school closures in the Halifax region and in the Strait region.

Strong winds of up to 90 km/h in Cape Breton, and up to 120 km/h for much of Newfoundland, prompted warnings from Environment Canada.
"Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur. Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage. Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions due to high winds," said Environment Canada in a news release.


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