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Maritimers still dealing with high winds, rain as Lee hits region

Lee is expected to make landfall early in the afternoon in southwest Nova Scotia.

More than 123,000 customers without power in Nova Scotia early Saturday afternoon

Post-tropical storm Lee to land in N.S. midday

2 hours ago

Duration 2:28

CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon says winds at the storm's centre are reaching 130 km/h as it nears Nova Scotia.

Thousands of homes in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are without power as post-tropical storm Lee moves closer to its anticipated landfall.

Lee transitioned from a Category 1 hurricane to a post-tropical storm early Saturday. But CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon said we're not out of the woods yet.

"This is going to be a long day here in the Maritimes," he said.

High winds are expected to continue throughout the day and night until they finally begin to let up Sunday morning.

Lee is now expected to make landfall early in the afternoon in southwest Nova Scotia.

Snoddon says winds remain near Category 1 strength with winds around 120 km/h around its centre and that residents of both provinces should brace for a long day and night.

"These are sustained winds, really howling, especially along the Atlantic coastline," he said.

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The storm is moving in faster than expected, says Snoddon, and it will be important to keep an eye on possible storm surges along the coast.

Top wind gusts so far are in the 90-110 km/h range in southwestern Nova Scotia, and between 30-60 millimetres of rainfall has fallen in that same area.

Nova Scotia RCMP are asking people to stay off the roads as water, downed trees and utility lines are created 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.

123,000 without power in N.S.

As of 12:49 p.m. Saturday, more than 123,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were without power, with the highest concentration in the Halifax area, the province's South Shore, and the Annapolis Valley.

In New Brunswick, meanwhile, N.B. Power's outage map lists more than 41,000 customers without power.

In a release Saturday morning, Nova Scotia Power said the outages are the result of downed 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.

More than 600 people, including power line technicians and forestry workers, are in the field today, but "conditions are getting worse" and in most cases, power won't be able to be restored until the winds recede, said Nova Scotia Power.

"Especially when winds are above 80 km/h, it isn't safe for our crews to be up in the buckets, so we focus on assessing damage and restoring power from the ground where possible," Matt Drover, the organization's storm lead, said in the release.

N.B. Power has a team of 700 on standby to help with electricity outages. Nova Scotia Power said Digby, Shelburne and Yarmouth are its 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.

According to the CBC's Brett Ruskin, reporting from Shelburne, it appears the storm is affecting cell coverage in the area.

Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood says her town is 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.

Motorist injured by falling tree

A motorist was injured when a pine tree fell on his vehicle while he was driving into Blockhouse, N.S.

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.

Cancellations abound

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.

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.

Health impacts

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.

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