Arthur could have lasting impact after downing thousands of trees
Published Monday, July 14, 2014 7:10PM ADT
Power restoration efforts are ongoing in New Brunswick, more than a week after post-tropical storm Arthur hit the region.
More than 3,500 NB Power customers were without power as of 7 p.m. Monday, with most outages in the Fredericton area.
Gaetan Thomas, president and CEO of NB Power, said the work has been slow, but steady since Arthur made landfall on July 5.
“The sheer magnitude of the storm made it very, very difficult,” said Thomas, who spoke exclusively with CTV News on Monday. “A lot of one-offs, like this is one customer which will take hours to serve him or her back.”
Premier David Alward joined Thomas on his rounds on Monday. Alward wouldn’t discuss the possibility of compensation, saying that discussion would come after the recovery was complete.
“We’ve already moved with families who are in need, in terms of they can contact the Red Cross, there’s a 1-800 number or through Social Development as well,” Alward told CTV News. “We’re following up on the other assessments as we go forward.”
Arthur knocked out power to more than 250,000 customers in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia at the height of the storm.
Nova Scotia Power said Monday that all but a handful of its customers have been reconnected.
As power restoration efforts continue, so too do cleanup efforts, especially in Fredericton where thousands of trees have been lost.
Wolfgang Westner was one of dozens of Fredericton residents who spent Monday dropping tree limbs felled by the storm at a dumping site in the city.
“I had to clean up my own yard too and I helped my parents-in-law, they had a few trees fall down actually in Sussex…you’re really busy right now, everybody’s busy right now,” said Westner.
The city says the number of trees lost to Arthur could easily exceed 10,000 and the city’s forester says that will have a lasting impact.
“A canopy of trees will intercept 35 per cent of a rainfall and over two or three days it either releases it back into the atmosphere, or it slowly seeps down into the trunk,” explained Don Murray. “If you lose that many trees, we’re going to have more runoff from significant rainfalls, which will increase flooding.”
Trees dropped off at the dump site are then chipped for use in composting. The result is large piles of mulch at the site, which is creating some safety concerns.
Municipal officials say the organic material inside the piles is already starting to break down, which creates heat. There are concerns the mulch will start to burn if it’s isn’t moved soon.
As for power restoration, NB power says it may take another day or two. But city officials in Fredericton say recovering from the loss of thousands of trees will take decades.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Andy Campbell