NEWS
07/06/2014 07:40 EDT | Updated 09/05/2014 05:59 EDT

Arthur hits Maritimes: crews restoring power in wake of storm

The impact of post-tropical storm Arthur is still being felt across the Maritimes as nearly 250,000 people are waking up across the region on Sunday without electricity.

NB Power is reporting 135,778 customers are affected by power outages and the hardest hit area remains in Fredericton, where 52,040 customers have no electricity.

Bob Scott, a spokesperson for NB Power, said these number of outages is the highest the company has ever seen.

"We are at 135,00 customers [without power] right now and there is a possibility that those numbers could rise slightly this morning, depending on what comes in from the eastern side of the province," Scott said.

The utility estimates it may be 48 to 72 hours before the majority of people without electricity get their power back. In remote areas, it will likely take longer than 72 hours.

​Scott said NB Power had 110 line and tree-trimming crews working on Saturday. The utility has requested help from power companies in Maine and Quebec.

Roughly 150 crews are expected to be working in New Brunswick later today. Scott said NB Power was ready for the storm.

"We are ready for it and we are getting even more people in. You will see an awful lot of activity around the province [on Sunday]," Scott said.​

​Scott said there were a few crews out assessing damage overnight but most crews were pulled from the road for safety reasons and to give them some rest.

NS Power says electricity may return Sunday

Meanwhile, in Nova Scotia, NS Power reports 105,165 customers are still in the dark as of 7 a.m. AT

​Other communities may have to wait until 11:30 p.m., while people in isolated places may have to wait until Monday or even Tuesday to be reconnected.

"We have 73 Nova Scotia Power crews and an additional 35 contract crews and then [32] tree crews," said Stacey Pineau, a company spokesperson.

EastLink says it's experiencing "a service interruption" affecting customers in the Maritimes.

Communities offer help

Several communities opened up public buildings for residents affected by the heavy rain and powerful winds brought to the region by post-tropical storm Arthur.

Fredericton set up a reception and changing centre at the city’s convention centre on Saturday. The centre will reopen on Sunday. The Red Cross will also be there to serve coffee and water.

The Quispamsis Civic Centre will be open on Sunday for residents to charge cellphones or other electronic devices and get water.

The widespread power outages, particularly in New Brunswick, forced many people to gas stations on Saturday to fill up in order to power their generators.

Many gas stations in Fredericton are reporting they are out of gas. The crush of people heading to the few gas stations that remained open caused some tempers to flare.

Lee-Anne Donovan said people were waiting more than 20 minutes for gas on Saturday evening and their patience was wearing thin.

Donovan also said all the food from their freezer has been sold.

Arthur weakening as it approaches N.L.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued a statement on Sunday morning that said Arthur was "slowly weakening." The remnants of Arthur are southwest of Stephenville and heading toward Newfoundland.

The centre said all tropical storm warnings related to Arthur have ended.

"Remnants of post-tropical storm Arthur are nothing more than some lingering gusty winds and a few pockets of heavy showers (Newfoundland and Cape Breton)," according to the Canadian Hurricane Centre.

On Saturday, the storm was downgraded from hurricane status with sustained winds of about 110 km/h as it approached landfall in the Yarmouth area of Nova Scotia at about 7:30 a.m.

The storm also brought heavy rains to many parts of the Maritimes.

All of New Brunswick received heavy rainfall, with total amounts near 100 millimetres forecast for much of the province.

St. Stephen, in southwestern New Brunswick, had already received 142 millimetres of rain by Saturday.

Chris Fogarty, a spokesperson for the Canadian Hurricane Centre, said on Saturday it is "not out of the question" for St. Stephen to receive 170 millimetres of rain before the storm clears the area.

The southwestern New Brunswick town experienced some flooding on Saturday. However, police say the flooding is over and King Street, which was closed at 2 p.m on Saturday, has reopened.

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