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Wind knocks out power to tens of thousands across the Maritimes

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Tens of thousands of people across the Maritimes were without power Monday as a storm brought high winds and rain to the region.

Wind warnings were in place in all three Maritime provinces and New Brunswick was under a rainfall warning.

Wind gusts of between 80 to 100 kilometres an hour buffeted the region. 

“With the winds this high, they are breaking branches, and in some cases taking down full trees. We’ve seen locations where multiple trees are down on the road,” said Matt Drover, Nova Scotia Power’s storm lead.

“The down wires pose the biggest hazard so if you see a downed wire, no matter if it’s a telephone wire or a power wire, please stay as far away from that as possible and call into us and we will send a crew out right away to remove that wire and make it safe.”

In Saint John, N.B., the roof of an apartment building was blown off late in the afternoon.

No injuries were immediately reported.

The Saint John Fire Department, Canadian Red Cross, and Salvation Army responded to the scene on Britain Street, however it was unclear as of Monday evening the extent of damage done and number people are affected.

Strong winds blew the roof of an apartment building in Saint John, N.B., on Dec. 11, 2023. (Nick Moore/CTV Atlantic)

OUTAGES

Roughly 19,000 NB Power customers were without electricity as of 10 p.m. Monday. The utility said it had opened its Emergency Operations Centre.

Nova Scotia Power also opened its Emergency Operations Centre and was reporting 646 outages affecting roughly 38,000 customers as of 10 p.m.

On Prince Edward Island, Maritime Electric was reporting outages affecting around 2,200 customers as of 10 p.m.

SCHOOLS

The Anglophone North School District in New Brunswick said Miramichi Valley High School was dismissing students at 11 a.m. Monday. The Anglophone West School District said schools in Zone 1 (Edmundston) and Zone 2 (Grand Falls, Plaster Rock, Perth-Andover) were closed.

In Nova Scotia, students at Islands Consolidated School in Freeport were dismissed at noon.

TRAVEL

The Confederation Bridge restricted certain classes of vehicles from crossing Monday.

Northumberland Ferries cancelled its sailings from Wood Islands, P.E.I., and Caribou, N.S., for Monday, except for the 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. crossings. The Tuesday crossings at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. have also been cancelled.

Bay Ferries said their 9 a.m. Saint John ferry departure on Monday was revised to leave early at 8 a.m. and the 4 p.m. Digby departure was cancelled. 

A ferry faces rough waters in Halifax on Dec. 11, 2023. (Jonathan MacInnis/CTV Atlantic)

Halifax Transit said just before 5 p.m. Monday it was suspending ferry service until further notice. People who rode the ferry before it closed experienced a rough ride.

“Halifax to Dartmouth was smooth sailing really because we had the tailwind, but I was watching the boat go over and it was bashing through the waves like crazy,” said Ken May.

Precautions were taken on the Halifax bridges, too.

“We’ve closed the sidewalk, we’ve closed the bike way,” said Steve Proctor, the communications manager for Halifax Harbour Bridges.

It’s a safety measure when winds hit 85 kilometers per hour.

“If it gets over 120 km an hour, that’s our threshold for safety and will close both or either bridges,” Proctor said. “We’ve had gusts of 112, 114 kilometres an hour.”

High sided vehicles and anything towing a trailer were also forced to find another way around the harbour.

With files from CTV's Nick Moore and The Canadian Press.

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