STRAIT AREA: Days after it first hit, the effects of Hurricane Dorian are still being felt across the Strait area.
After staying at Category 1 strength for over 24 hours before it hit Saturday afternoon, Hurricane Dorian clocked winds at 100 miles per hour in some areas, bringing with it tidal surges and driving rain. The storm knocked out power, damaged roads and property, and disrupted travel.
By Saturday night, almost every home in the region was without power. Nova Scotia Power (NSP) estimated there were approximately 400,000 customers in the province who had their service disrupted during the height of the storm.
By the next day, power was restored to Port Hawkesbury and parts of Antigonish and Richmond and Inverness counties, but the lights were still out for many Strait area residents.
At press time Tuesday, NSP was still working to restore power to thousands in the area including customers in the communities of Havre Boucher, St. Peter’s, Louisdale, L’Ardoise, Whycocomagh, Port Hood, and Mabou.
Not just power, but Internet and cell phone service was disrupted last weekend, into early this week. In a briefing Monday morning, the Nova Scotia’s Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) said Bell was working closely with NSP to restore its operations.
On Monday, the Municipality of the County of Inverness alerted water users in Whycocomagh and Mabou that service was unavailable and they asked that users of other municipal water systems conserve water while they tried to restore service.
That same day, officials with the Town of Port Hawkesbury advised users of town walking trails fallen trees and limbs had been removed and the trails were safe for public use.
Then on Sunday, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development cancelled school on Monday for all students in Nova Scotia, based on the recommendation of the EMO. Classes were also cancelled at the NSCC Strait Area Campus on Monday, but resumed Tuesday despite the continuation of the school closure for all secondary students.
Surgical procedures scheduled at Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital on Monday were postponed because of power issues.
In D’Escousse, the main road was cleared by Monday morning after fallen trees made the road completely impassable on the weekend, but crews continued to cut trees from phone lines and on properties.
Like many other areas, the Antigonish area was mostly impacted by fallen trees.
The StFX power sub-station remained on-line throughout the storm, providing power to the university, West Street, Church Street, and the traffic lights at West/James and Highland/St. Ninians.
Despite the town-wide power loss, on the large scale of things, Antigonish got off relatively scot-free.
As cleanup efforts began Sunday morning, NSP was joined by crews from New Brunswick as they worked diligently throughout the town, getting each substation back on the grid.
Around 6 p.m. Sunday, the power was restored to the College Street sub-station, which services the downtown core and the East End of town; this was the last substation to go back online and with that, all residents in town had their power restored.
The Municipality of the County of Antigonish opened their doors to their municipal building on Monday as a warming centre and the council chambers provided a place for people in the surrounding areas to charge their devices.
Because of the wind, the Canso Causeway was closed to high-sided vehicles Saturday afternoon.
On Friday, Tourism Nova Scotia announced the Visitor Information Centre in Port Hastings would close because of Hurricane Dorian.
The StFX X-Men football team was forced to reschedule their game against Bishop’s University to Friday evening from Saturday afternoon because of Hurricane Dorian. The Riverside Speedway’s “Season Finale” was also postponed to September 14.
When the storm hit, Nova Scotia RCMP issued an advisory asking motorists to stay off the roads, unless necessary, due to the gale force winds and heavy rain.
By Saturday night, Emergency Health Services pulled ambulances off the road because of the deteriorating conditions.
After their broadcast tower was blown over Saturday, 101.5 The Hawk was able to continue broadcasting on-line out of Port Hawkesbury until their radio signal was restored the next day.
During the storm, roads in: D’Escousse; Newtown; Port Hood; Highway 7 near Glen Road; Route 19 between Mabou and Inverness; between Strathlorne and Inverness; Mull River Road; between Port Hastings and Port Hawkesbury; Highway 104 in Lower River Inhabitants; Highway 105 in Glendale; Route 252 near Brook Village Grocery; and Route 395 were all closed or had traffic flow disrupted due to downed trees, lines or poles.
To provide some relief for those without power, comfort stations were set up at: the fire hall in L’Ardoise; the Isle Madame fire hall; the Whycocomagh fire hall; the Mulgrave legion; the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre; the Louisdale fire hall; the St. George’s Channel hall; the New Horizons Senior’s Club in Arichat; the Grand River fire hall; the Havre Boucher Community Centre; and the Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex.