Weather blast leaves more than 19,000 without power Friday morning

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Thousands of New Brunswickers are waking up without power as a fierce winter storm continues to blast the province.

There are 19,529 customers without power across the province as of 8:50 a.m. AT, 5,094 of whom are in the Acadian Peninsula.

The Sackville-Port Elgin area has 3,796 customers without power, 3,557 without power in the Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe areas. The Chaleur region also has 2,256 customers without power.

“As people wake up they realize they have been without power throughout the night,” said Marie-Andree Bolduc, a NB Power spokesperson.

With changing weather, she said it’s difficult to say if there will be more power outages 

Jay Scotland, a CBC meteorologist, said strong winds will continue to batter the region on Friday morning, with gusts of 70 km/h to 100 km/h. As a result, he said additional power outages are possible.

Bolduc said access to road conditions have been a major issue for repair crews and the utility still doesn’t have a timeline of when power will be restored. 

“The immediate issue is actually gaining access to the site, they’ve [crews] been trying to gain access since last evening.”

She said some customers were able to be restored on Thursday night but crews are still waiting fo roads to clear to get to the sites.

“As the daylight comes in, we’ll be able to get a better sense of what needs to be done,” she said.

Robert Duguay, a spokesperson for the province’s Emergency Measures Organization, said warming centres are not available but will be set up if needed. He said EMO is continuing to monitor the situation. 

Residents impacted by outages

Nearly 400 customers are without power in Murray Corner, a community just north of Port Elgin. 

Brenda Trafford, who lives in the area, woke up with no electricity. Trafford said her house was cold but a wood stove is keeping her warm.

“The power went out at about 4:15 yesterday afternoon and I was pretty well prepared, I even was able to set up an old radio I found in the basement with eight-year-old batteries and the thing worked,” she said.

‘All in all there was more fear for me than real damage.’– Alain Clavette, Memramcook resident

“It was very, very windy there was snow at the beginning but my deck is bare this morning, basically bare but wet.”

Alain Clavette, who lives just outside of Memramcook, said he doesn’t have power.

“It’s been almost scary for a little while, the winds were very very intense, the barbecue got knocked over out there, which was the only item I never thought the wind was going to be able to move,” he said.

Clavette said he received a lot of rain and broken branches around his southeastern home.

“All in all there was more fear for me than real damage,” he said.

“The wind got intimidating for a while, but there doesn’t seem to be much damage around the house.”

dome Weather blast leaves more than 19,000 without power Friday morning

Strong wind gusts have created a rip in the Moncton SportsDome, causing it to deflate. (Tori Weldon/CBC News)

Meanwhile, wind gusts were so strong in the Moncton area the city’s SportsDome experienced a “small rip” at around 6:30 a.m. 

On Twitter, the Moncton SportsDome said staff crew were on site Friday morning and decided to bring it down. Repairs are expected soon and the Dome will be re-inflated once the repair is completed.

Road conditions

Scotland said there’s also still a possibility of travel disruptions throughout the day, as blowing snow will reduce visibility.

The province’s Emergency Measures Organization has lifted the no-travel advisories on Highway 1 and Highway 2. 

But drivers are still be warned to delay travel, if possible. 

There’s still two road closures in the northern part of the province on Highway 180 from St. Quentin to Southeast Upsalquitch River. Part of Highway 108, also known as the Plaster Rock-Renous Highway, is also closed.

Norman Clouston, the general manager for the MRDC Operations Corp., which manages the highway from the Fredericton area to Moncton, said there was significant snowfall that switched over to rain and are experiencing freezing temperatures.

​”You should not go out and head out on the highway … you should delay your trip for a few hours,” he said.

Felicia Murphy,a spokesperson for SNC-Lavalin, which maintains the Trans-Canada from Longs Creek to the Quebec Border and the highway from Woodstock to Houlton, said roads are snow covered with poor visibility and icy patches.

She said travel is not recommended to the public.

“We still recommend for people to stay off the highway or delay your travel as much as you can,” she said,

saint-john-storm-jan-4-2018 Weather blast leaves more than 19,000 without power Friday morning

Drivers are being advised to stay off sections of the Trans-Canada Highway on Friday morning until weather conditions improve. (CBC)

Mike Walker, the roadway operations manager for the City of Fredericton, said there’s still a lot of snow and blowing snow on streets in the capital.

Crews have been working overnight to keep the city’s main streets open. 

“Give yourself some space and time to get to work safely,” he said.

Meanwhile, Environment Canada’s weather warning has been replaced with a special weather statement as of Friday morning.

“An intense low pressure system over southeastern New Brunswick will move to lie in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence this afternoon. This low is giving strong to gale force east to northeasterlies into early this morning,” said the national weather service statement.

‘We do anticipate there will be power outages as a result of the storm’0:57

Environment Canada warns that strong northeasterly winds will also result in higher than normal water levels, leading to some minor coastal flooding along east to northeast-facing coastlines of eastern New Brunswick and the Bay of Chaleur during high tide early Friday morning.

The weather agency said ice rafting against the coast may also occur during the day.

New Brunswick forecast

Northern New Brunswick

Today: Snow this morning will taper off to flurries this afternoon but blowing snow remains an issue with west and northwesterly winds gusting from 50 km/h to 60 km/h in the morning and easing to 30 km/h to 50 km/h in the afternoon.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy with a risk for flurries, cold and still windy with westerly wind gusts to 50 km/h.

Saturday: Variable cloud with scattered flurries and brisk west to northwesterly winds gusting between 30 km/h and 50 km/h.

Fredericton and area

Today: Snow will gradually taper off to flurries by late morning but there could be icy roads and blowing snow due to falling temperatures and brisk westerly winds still gusting to 50 km/h, which will gradual ease off by the afternoon. Skies will be mostly cloud with a risk of flurries in the afternoon.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy with possible flurries and westerly wind gusts travelling at 40 km/h.

Saturday: Partly cloudy with a risk of flurries and brisk west to northwesterly winds with wind gusts approaching 50 km/h.

Southern New Brunswick

Today: Light snow Friday morning that will taper off to flurries with variable cloud for the afternoon. Blowing snow could remain an issue though with west-southwesterly winds still gusting to 80 km/h throughout the morning before easing in the afternoon to the 50 km/h range.

Tonight: Variable cloud with slight isolated flurries and brisk westerly winds still gusting to 40 km/h.

Tomorrow: Variable cloud and chilly with cold winds still gusting over 40 km/h.

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