HALIFAX: A pair of winter storms before and after New Year’s featured hurricane-force winds and left thousands in the Strait region without power.
After recovering from a Christmas Day storm that knocked out power to 14,564 people in the Strait region, the province was hit with an even stronger winter “weather bomb” bringing another wave of widespread outages and cancellations.
On December 25, high winds gusting between 100 and 115 kilometers per hour caused power outages beginning in the afternoon. While power was restored for most areas on December 27, some customers in Richmond County remained without power until the afternoon of December 28. Richmond County also experienced the highest number of outages in the region, with a total of 8,110 customers without power at the height of the event, followed by Inverness County, where 3,292 customers lost power.
“The high number of damaged sites and hard-to-access locations created the biggest challenge for restoration crews following the storm,” said Tiffany Chase, Senior Communications Advisor for Nova Scotia Power (NSP). “Damage from the storm at these locations was extensive such as multiple trees on multiple spans of line, requiring a number of repairs before power could be safely restored.”
The second storm rolled into the province on January 4, bringing snow in the afternoon, before turning to rain and high winds. The Strait regional school board and Conseil scolaire acadien provincial cancelled school on Thursday and Friday, while StFX and the NSCC Strait Area Campus announced closures during the storm. Access Nova Scotia Centres and many other government offices also closed on January 4 with many services remaining closed on Friday due to ongoing power outages.
Dayna Vettese, Meteorologist with The Weather Network, told The Reporter on Friday that although the heaviest snowfalls occurred in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia experienced the highest winds in the region during the storm.
“The wind gusts we saw out of this storm certainly topped the ones of the Christmas Day into Boxing Day system,” said Vettese. “The peak gusts we were able to find were 170 kilometers per hour in Grand Etang. You get a little bit of a local effect there that can help increase wind speed.”
The storm also brought high water levels. Although she did not have specific storm surge data, Villette said that a wave height of approximately 17 meters was measured offshore Nova Scotia.
The January 4 storm knocked out power to 280,000 NSP customers across the province. The work to restore power included over 1,000 people. The effort continued until the company de-activated its Emergency Operations Centre just after 9 p.m. on January 6 after power had been restored to most customers.
“We thank our customers for their patience,” said NSP’s Storm Lead Stephen Pothier in a press release on Saturday. “And we are immensely grateful for the almost 500 power line technicians who have traveled from New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario to help restore power to our customers after this week’s powerful storm.”