A significant winter storm that brought high winds has left thousands of homes and businesses in Nova Scotia without power Sunday morning.
The storm started Saturday, bringing a messy mix of heavy snow, ice pellets, freezing rain and rain to the region, with winds gusting up to 100 km / h in some areas.
Wind warnings are still in effect for much of Nova Scotia, including the Halifax region, Guysborough County and all of Cape Breton.
Environment Canada says these areas could see winds between 70-100 km / h Sunday morning, while exposed areas of the coast could get 120 km / h winds.
Sean Borden, a storm lead with Nova Scotia Power, said Cape Breton is starting to see some power outages related to the high winds.
“The winds are starting to pick up in Cape Breton. We’re just starting to see that right now, so there have been a few new outages down in the Sydney area in the last hour or so,” Borden said early Sunday.
“We’ll continue to watch that and be ready to respond to that.”
Borden said that as of 7 am AT about 21,000 customers had lost electricity since the start of the storm.
He said one of the major outages was located in the Shearwater and Eastern Passage areas, where high winds broke a conductor in one of the substations early Sunday.
Crews have since restored power to about 2,500 customers in the area.
According to Nova Scotia Power’s outage map, there were about 2,700 customers without power as of 10:30 am Sunday.
Storm surge warnings and wind warnings in effect. Winds are gusting over 90 km / h along the ATL coast of Nova Scotia. Winds will subside this afternoon and temperatures fall. @WKNDMornings # nsstorm #nbstorm #peistorm pic.twitter. com / TTydog4iL2
Borden said there are about 400 people working to restore power to customers across the province.
“So far, our crews have been making good progress, but we are experiencing some challenging conditions with the roads and the high winds,” Borden said early Sunday.
“So our crews have had to stand down in a few cases where we’ve had winds over 100 km / hr, but we’re expected to get through those this morning and get back to restoration in those areas.”
Power is expected to be restored for most customers by afternoon, but any new outages could take until the evening to repair.
CBC meteorologist Tina Simpkin says winds are expected to ease by this afternoon and temperatures will fall.
NS-NB border reopens
As cleanup begins, most highways in the province are completely snow-covered or partly covered Sunday morning.
The blowing snow and freezing rain made for poor road conditions on Saturday, shutting down several areas.
The Trans-Canada Highway, at the Cobequid Pass and the provincial border with New Brunswick, was closed in both directions overnight.
The pass and border reopened early Sunday, but the New Brunswick Department of Transportation said travel is not recommended.
Storm surges along the Atlantic coast also shut down a stretch of Route 333 near West Dover in Halifax County.
The Nova Scotia New Brunswick border will open at 8 am this morning, However, please be advised that the New Brunswick Dept of Transportation does not recommend travel in the area due to poor road and travel conditions.
Please drive with extreme caution.
Environment Canada had issued storm surge warnings along the entire Atlantic coast, which caused some flooding over the road.
The Department of Public Works said visibility was reduced and debris should be expected.
In Sydney, several streets closed due to flooding Saturday evening.
“Avoid driving through large amounts of water on the roads as there can be hidden hazards,” a tweet from the Cape Breton Regional Municipality said.
The roads have since reopened.