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Damaging storm tears across the Maritimes


Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

December 14, 2010 — Intense winds damaged buildings and knocked out power to thousands in the Maritimes, while heavy rain triggered localized flooding.

A flooded gas station in St. Stephen, NB
A flooded gas station in St. Stephen, NB

Flooding rains, destructive winds and widespread power outages. People in the Maritimes have seen it all with this latest storm.

A low pressure system that brought blizzard conditions to parts of the US Midwest, along with heavy snow and freezing rain to parts of Ontario and Quebec, has been hammering the region since Monday. By Tuesday morning, many communities were left in the dark.

“Overnight, as many as 85,000 people were without power in Nova Scotia with winds clocked over 100 km/h,” says Shelley Steeves, The Weather Network's Maritime Bureau reporter. “A roof was blown off a senior's residence and people had to be evacuated from that establishment.”

13 seniors were evacuated from Kingsway Gardens Home in Windsor. They were taken to a nearby community centre where Red Cross volunteers helped them set up cots.

In addition to causing power outages and damaging buildings, the gusty winds also forced officials to impose travel restrictions on the Confederation Bridge Monday morning. Marine Atlantic suspended ferry services between southern Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Tree damage reported across N.S
Tree damage reported across N.S

“Fortunately the winds have died down here in New Brunswick. That will give crews a chance to restore some of the service today,” says Steeves. “But it's still gusty in Nova Scotia, so it could be a while before people are back on service.”

While the winds have been a major part of this storm, heavy rain has been another. In St. Stephen, New Brunswick, nearly 180 mm of rain has fallen, triggering localized flooding. Impressive amounts of rain were also reported in Fredericton, where more than 105 mm fell. Water on the road there forced the closure of Highway 105 through Jemseg and Maugerville.

Water levels along the Saint John River rose a metre and a half in only 7 hours Tuesday, which is increasing the risk for severe flooding.

“Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will continue to see gusty winds and scattered showers through the overnight hours,” says Brian Dillon, a meteorologist here at The Weather Network. “And the heaviest rain will fall in Cape Breton Tuesday night and into Wednesday, with the potential for localized flooding as well.”

The same system hammering the Maritimes also brought heavy snow and freezing rain to parts of Ontario and Quebec, as well as blizzard-like conditions to the U.S. Midwest. A state of emergency was issued for Sarnia, Ontario, thanks to vicious snow squalls that left motorists stranded on a highway in the area.

To stay up-to-date on 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 your National Forecast comes up at the top and bottom of every hour.

With files from Beverley Ann D'Cruz and Andrea Stockton

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