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Cleaning up after a Weather Bomb

Storm surge warnings were issued on Monday. Click the image for a look at the damage across the Maritimes
Storm surge warnings were issued on Monday. Click the image for a look at the damage across the Maritimes

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

December 7, 2010 — It was a powerful storm that brought damaging winds, heavy snow and intense storm surge. Now, people in the Maritimes are cleaning up the mess.

Damage in Musquodoboit Harbour, NS
Damage in Musquodoboit Harbour, NS

A powerful storm, referred to as a Weather Bomb, rushed into the Maritimes on Monday morning bringing a mix of snow and rain to the region.

Heavy snow in New Brunswick prompted the closure of several school districts including those in Woodstock, Oromocto and Fredericton. Parts of Nova Scotia were blasted with wintery conditions as well. At least 15 cm of snow has been recorded in Yarmouth along with around 15 mm of rain.

The biggest story however, has been the howling winds. “This storm was definitely a wind event,” says Patrick Cool, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Winds clocked in at 105 km/h in Halifax, while Beaver Island saw gusts at nearly 120 km/h. That lead to widespread power outages in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. At the height of the storm around 40,000 customers were left in the dark. RCMP were warning motorists to watch for downed power lines and trees on the roads. Metro Transit cancelled the Halifax-Dartmouth ferry service due to the high winds and the Confederation Bridge was also closed to traffic at one point.

A service to commemorate the Halifax Explosion was cancelled due to the poor weather conditions. The service remembers the lives lost in the 1917 Halifax Explosion, as well as survivors and the many people who worked tirelessly to respond to the massive tragedy.

Peak wind gusts across the Maritimes
Peak wind gusts across the Maritimes

The other big story, for many, was the storm surge. Flood waters swept across many coastal communities, including Shelburne, Queens, Lunenburg and Halifax. In some cases, water on roadways was knee-deep. Along the Eastern Shore, rocks and debris were strewn across Lawrencetown Road.

While the worst of the storm is over, emergency officials are warning residents to stay away from the coast.

“The water levels continue to be high and conditions after a storm can continue to be dangerous,” says Michelle Perry with Nova Scotia's Emergency Management Office. “So please play it safe and maintain a safe distance from coastal areas.”

Because the strong winds and storm surge had such an impact across the provinces, it had many Maritimers comparing its strength to that of a hurricane.

“Gusts throughout the day were borderline hurricane criteria,” notes Cool. “The only difference was, this storm didn't have tropical origins. When a hurricane or tropical storm develops, it moves through quick. It drops a lot of moisture, but over a time frame of maybe hours.”

Atlantic Canada is certainly no stranger to tropical storms. 2010 was a busy season as two Category 1 hurricanes pummelled the Atlantic provinces leaving a path of destruction behind.

To stay up-to-date on the current weather conditions in your area, be sure to check your local forecast. You can also tune in to The Weather Network on TV, where the National Forecast comes up at the top and bottom of every hour.

With files from Lisa Varano and Lyndsay Morrison

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