Remnants of tropical storm Andrea delivers spring soaking to Maritimes

HALIFAX – The remnants of tropical storm Andrea packed a soggy punch Saturday, drenching the Maritime provinces, knocking out power to thousands of customers and turning the region’s streets and highways into slick, water-covered roads.

Rainfall warnings were in effect for Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick where Andrea dumped at least 60 millimetres of rain in many areas. The storm was expected to soak parts of southern Newfoundland with about 50 millimetres of rain starting Saturday and continuing into Sunday.

“It’s almost exclusively a rain event,” said Doug Mercer, a meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax.

Mercer said New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island was especially sodden after more than 90 millimetres of rain fell. More than 70 millimetres was reported along the Fundy coast of Nova Scotia.

Police and forecasters warned drivers of hydroplaning as water accumulated on various roads.

In Halifax, police said they responded to a number of collisions involving motor vehicles, mostly fender-benders. Still, police issued a news release asking drivers to slow down.

“The current rain, poor visibility and wet road conditions are likely a contributing factor to these accidents,” the release said.

The hurricane centre said the strongest winds were expected south of the storm’s centre. Gusts up to 70 kilometres an hour were forecast for exposed areas of Nova Scotia, particularly along the Atlantic coast.

At one point, the storm was to blame for knocking out power to more than 4,000 customers in Nova Scotia and parts of New Brunswick, mostly in the Fredericton and Rothesay areas. That number gradually fell throughout the day.

Kathleen Duguay, a spokeswoman for NB Power, said crews were working to get customers back online while the storm swept through the province.

“(The storm is) damaging some of the equipment on the lines and on the poles,” Duguay said in an interview. “The crews are restoring power as soon as they can.”

The region’s major airports did not report any significant delays in departures or arrivals. However, officials with the Confederation Bridge that links New Brunswick and P.E.I. said they would not permit certain vehicles, including tractor trailers and buses, to cross the bridge until the winds died down. Those restrictions were lifted by late afternoon.

The hurricane centre said no significant storm surge was expected as a result of the storm, although gale warnings were issued for all marine waters south of Nova Scotia.

Andrea hammered Florida with rain, heavy winds, and even tornadoes as it moved toward the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas.

It is the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which typically runs from June until November.

— With files from The Associated Press