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Hundreds of Maritimers still dealing with burst pipes, power outages following record-low temperatures

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Hundreds of Nova Scotians are still without power on Monday following frigid temperatures and high winds over the weekend.

The freezing temperatures broke cold weather records in all four Atlantic provinces Saturday, with temperatures feeling like -40C to -50C, before they went up significantly Sunday.

The cold snap caused frozen pipes and broken water lines across the region, displacing around a dozen people.

The manager of Ermen Plumbing and Heating Ltd in Moncton, N,B., says they received over 80 service calls over the weekend, mostly for pipes bursting due to the extreme cold.

"On Saturday, we had four technicians working. On Sunday, we had seven technicians working," said Jeff Leech.

"It got to the point on Saturday where our emergency service line got so backed up that they had to call in further resources to deal with the amount of calls we were getting."

One of those calls came from the Superior Propane Centre – a multi-purpose arena in Moncton – where pipes burst in a bathroom causing the arena to shut down on Sunday.

Leech said a repair job can take anywhere from an hour to a couple of days depending on the situation.

"The pipe is quite often damaged from the freezing and then there's a resulting flood," he said. "So, that's why it's important to get a hold of us right away so that we can mitigate any of that flood damage."

In Dorchester, N.B., Bill Steel has been working the phones to find someone to help him with repairs at his eight-unit apartment building near Sackville, N.B.

"I phoned at least 10 people and two got back to me," he said.

"One guy kind of laughed at me and said, 'Good luck,' and the other guy is going to meet me this afternoon. It's tough to find anybody. Tough to get anyone to pick up the phone. Everyone's busy."

A pipe burst flooded Monica Nyers and her two children out of their Saint John, N.B., apartment.

For now, they're staying with family, unsure if they have a home to go back to.

"I have no water, no toilet, no bathtub for my kids to go in. Now I'm stranded, my floors are covered with water damage, it's lifting up from the floors, it's cracking. It's getting bad," said Nyers.

Water was flowing out of the Sir Louis Henry Davies Law Courts in downtown Charlottetown Monday. All court proceedings were cancelled.

A news release from the province late Monday afternoon said the Law Courts will remain closed to the public until 12 p.m. Tuesday, with a further announcement expected Tuesday morning "once overnight inspections are complete."

The courthouse in Sydney, N.S., was also closed Monday for the similar reasons.

Halifax Water was fielding many calls Monday about frozen pipes. The utility is only responsible for infrastructure leading up the property line.

"Our infrastructure fared pretty well. We had four water main breaks that took place over the course of the four days that will require very localized water shutdowns," said Jake Fulton with Halifax Water.

The Board Room Game Cafe in Halifax looked like a wading pool on Sunday.

"A pipe burst upstairs and pretty much rained down on us," said café manager Brittney McIsac. "Later on in the day, another burst."

"I mean, it's bad time to be in the cardboard business. It's hard to say right now, we're still assessing the damage."

POWER

More than 16,000 households and businesses were without power during Saturday’s extreme cold conditions.

By Sunday afternoon, more than 2,300 customers were without power in Nova Scotia and about 1,800 were in the dark in New Brunswick.

As of 7 a.m. Monday, that number went back up to 3,500 power customers in Nova Scotia.

As of 6 p.m. Monday, the number of Nova Scotia Power customers without electricity was at 1,452 – most of which were in the Sydney area.

According to the Nova Scotia Power outage map, the outages began early Monday morning due to high winds and damage to overhead equipment.

On P.E.I., two customers were without electricity as of 6 p.m., while three customers were affected by power outages in New Brunswick at that time.

SCHOOLS

Power outages in Cape Breton closed École Beau-Port in Arichat, N.S., and Pleasant Bay School in Pleasant Bay, N.S., Monday.

Several other schools in Nova Scotia were closed due to water and heating issues. A handful of schools in New Brunswick were also closed due to water issues.

Schools in Prince Edward Island were open.

Poor road conditions delayed schools in Nova Scotia’s Pictou County from opening by two hours and Strait Regional Centre for Education buses were travelling on paved roads only, also due to road conditions.

With files from The Canadian Press, Nick Moore and Derek Haggett

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