Thousands left without power in Nova Scotia two days after post-tropical storm Lee

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's electric utility worked on Monday to restore outages affecting thousands of customers after post-tropical storm Lee blew through the Maritimes over the weekend, knocking down trees and power lines.

The storm brought sustained winds with gusts reaching 100 kilometres per hour or more in some areas through Saturday and into Sunday, affecting about 280,000 customers, said Matt Drover, Nova Scotia Power’s director of energy delivery.

“We had nearly 24 hours where the storm hovered over Nova Scotia with tropical-storm-force winds,” Drover said in an interview. “So the winds blew for a long period of time, battering the trees throughout the province.”

Drover said that with the ground saturated by record levels of rain this summer, trees were uprooted during the storm, resulting in branches, limbs and whole trees falling on power lines in some areas. The utility said Sunday it had dispatched about 800 people across the province to restore electricity.

“In some cases they have to make repairs and put the lines back up in the air, and in some cases they have to replace poles — that’s been the biggest challenge,” Drover said.

In the Halifax area alone, about 130 trees came down, the municipality said Sunday.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, the utility was still dealing with just over 14,000 outages, mainly along Nova Scotia’s South Shore, in the Annapolis Valley and in Halifax. Areas around Truro, New Glasgow and Antigonish were affected as well.

“The Bridgewater-Liverpool area is the biggest location left,” Drover said.

He said it was estimated the majority of outages would be restored by Monday night, although he said some pockets in the hardest-hit areas on the South Shore could remain without electricity into Tuesday.

In neighbouring New Brunswick, where Lee mainly brought heavy downpours, there were just under 400 customers without power by late afternoon on Monday, mainly in Charlotte County, in the province's southwest.

N.B. Power spokesperson Dominique Couture said about 90,000 customers were affected at various times throughout the weekend, mainly because trees and branches fell on lines.

“It was mainly a vegetation event,” Couture said of outages that were expected to be restored by Monday night.

The United States' National Hurricane Center said the storm made landfall Saturday at Long Island, on Nova Scotia’s Digby Neck, with winds close to 113 kilometres per hour.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2023.

The Canadian Press