Post-tropical storm Lee officially has made landfall in Long Island, N.S., with maximum sustained winds around 110 km/h.
According to the National Hurricane Centre, Lee finally passed over Nova Scotia shortly after 4 p.m. AT after it spent Saturday afternoon skirting the coast near Yarmouth.
CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon says the storm will continue to move northward into the Bay of Fundy before making a second landfall in New Brunswick this evening.
As the storm passes into New Brunswick, other parts of the region will continue to feel its effects.
“The winds will pick up through this evening and continue [to gust] overnight in eastern areas like Cape Breton and P.E.I.,” he said.
In western Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, meanwhile, the winds will begin to ease near the end of Saturday and overnight, Snoddon said.
It will also be important to keep an eye on possible storm surges along the coast, said Snoddon.
Thousands of homes across the Nova Scotia mainland and New Brunswick have been without power for hours, even as strong and gusty winds are expected to continue into the evening. At the height of outages Saturday, nearly a third of Nova Scotia Power customers were without electricity.
Lee transitioned from a Category 1 hurricane to a post-tropical storm early Saturday.
Top wind gusts of 117 km/h were recorded at the Halifax airport, while southwestern Nova Scotia saw gusts of 90-110km/h and between 30-60 millimetres of rainfall in that same area.
Nova Scotia RCMP are asking people to stay off the roads as water, downed trees and utility lines are creating hazards along the province’s Atlantic coastline. Police say people who are driving out to watch the waves are putting themselves and first responders at risk.
In the Halifax Regional Municipality, Mayor Mike Savage said a number of roads are currently blocked, due to sea water and debris, washed-out culverts, downed trees and power lines.
Many homeless people living in encampments throughout the city have been moved to shelters established at St. Matthew’s Church, Captain William Spry Community Centre and Beacon House in Lower Sackville, Savage said during a news conference on Saturday afternoon.
He’s urging people to stay home and ride out the storm in safety.
“We’ve seen images of people near the waterfront, and it’s unnecessary, and it’s dangerous,” the mayor said. “The worst of the storm hasn’t hit us yet.”
120,000 without power in N.S.
As of 11 p.m. Saturday, more than 120,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were without power, with the highest concentration in the Halifax area, the province’s South Shore, and the Annapolis Valley. There were more than 160,000 outages reported earlier in the day.
In New Brunswick, meanwhile, N.B. Power’s outage map lists more than 15,000 customers without power.
In a release Saturday morning, Nova Scotia Power said the outages are the result of fallen trees and strong winds of up to 100 km/h in the western part of the province, and up to 90 km/h in downtown Halifax.
N.B. Power had a team of 700 on standby to help with electricity outages. Nova Scotia Power said Digby, Shelburne and Yarmouth were the biggest area of concern, so crews were sent there in advance of the storm.
Maritime Electric, which provides power for P.E.I., said it had more than 100 people on its team waiting to respond.
Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood said her town was bracing for impact.
“I think people have battened down the hatches,” she told CBC News Saturday morning.
Many people in the area work in the fishery, however, and some people braved the early morning wind to go down to the wharf and check on their property.
“We don’t want anybody out on the streets, but this is the mainstay, the fishery. It’s right down there and probably the most dangerous territory and … they have to check on their livelihoods.”
The biggest worry, Mood said, is how the wharf will withstand possible storm surges.
She added that the fire hall is open for anyone in need of shelter Saturday.
Parts of Nova Scotia are dealing with deteriorating cell service.
Cell service impacted for some
Bell, a major cellular service provider, confirmed in an email it is seeing some “wireless congestion” in areas where there are widespread power outages.
Eastlink, Rogers and Telus have reported similar issues. There is no estimated restoration time.
A motorist was injured when a pine tree fell on his vehicle while he was driving into Blockhouse, N.S.
Motorist injured by falling tree
Blockhouse Fire Chief William Young said his injuries were not life-threatening.
“They were heading into work and a tree came down across the road at the same time as they were coming,” Young said.
“Luckily, they were in the far lane heading toward Blockhouse from Cornwall direction and it caught the smaller part of the tree instead of the big trunk.”
Young said the man was shaken up and in pain. EHS personnel examined him and took him to hospital.
All Northumberland Ferries sailings between Wood Islands, P.E.I, and Caribou, N.S., on Saturday are cancelled.
Bay Ferries has cancelled its Saturday and Sunday crossings between Bar Harbour, Maine, and Yarmouth.
Bay Ferries has also cancelled Saturday crossings between Digby, N.S., and Saint John.
Marine Atlantic has rescheduled its Saturday crossings between North Sydney, N.S. and Port Aux Basque, N.L., to Sunday, weather permitting.
Many flights in and out of the region have been cancelled. Anyone with plans to travel should check the status of their flight with their airline.
Halifax Transit announced Saturday morning that the Macdonald and MacKay bridges had closed to high-sided vehicles, and buses would be rerouted as required. Ferry operations were suspended as of 10:15 a.m.
All libraries, municipal parks and recreation centres have also been closed.
In a post to social media on Friday night, Public Safety Canada advised people to avoid non-essential travel and conserve their phone batteries as much as possible during the storm.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority announced several closures for Saturday. They include:
- Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital Emergency Department in Lunenburg.
- Mobile Primary Care Clinic at Cobequid Community Health Centre.
- St. Margarets Bay Blood Collection in Upper Tantallon. Patients with booked appointments can go to Bayers Road Blood Collection, 7071 Bayers Road, Suite 141 for their appointment.