Thousands in Nova Scotia without power as crews repair damage caused by winter storm

The ocean is churned up near Devils Island in Halifax on Jan. 15.Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Thousands of Nova Scotia residents were still without power Monday, after a weekend winter storm brought freezing rain across the province that damaged power lines.

More than 6,000 customers had no power late Monday afternoon, the Nova Scotia Power outage map indicated. The storm, which began Friday, left as many as 120,000 customers in the dark over the weekend.

Some customers in the Antigonish and Cape Breton areas could be waiting until Tuesday for the lights and heating to come back on, Nova Scotia Power spokesperson Jacqueline Foster said in an e-mail.

“The biggest issue continues to be the significant ice accumulation on trees,” Ms. Foster said. “In many cases, crews are having to remove several trees from our lines, in one area, in order to restore power.”

Matt Drover, storm lead for the private utility, said some 600 crew members were dispatched to restore power after the storm.

“We had over 24 hours of freezing rain throughout the province,” Mr. Drover said in an interview Monday. “It has been very challenging. The temperatures have been extremely cold in all of Nova Scotia.”

Most of the province was hit with freezing rain, causing falling tree branches to damage power lines. Heavy snow blanketed other provinces in the region.

Crispin Cornect, who lives about 15 kilometers south of Antigonish, in Ashdale, said in an interview on Monday that power at his home returned midday after he had been in the dark since Friday night.

Mr. Cornect said he and others in the small community were preparing long before the storm hit the Nova Scotia Highlands area.

“I was cooking, making meals and getting ready for it because you could just see the branches on trees getting lower and lower and lower with the ice buildup,” Mr. Cornect said.

“It’s meant going to friends and family who have power intermittently themselves and getting a hot meal [or] having a place to grab a shower.”

Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher said that while her town was largely spared from the outages, the wider county was hit hard by the storm. She said the area is preparing to be hit with up to 75 millimeters of rain beginning Tuesday.

Public Works crews spent Sunday night cleaning rainwater basins in the town and removing excess snow and ice from low-lying areas to free up pathways for water that may accumulate, Ms. Boucher said.

“We’re hoping that that’ll be enough to collect water and get it out of the town,” Ms. Boucher said.

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