Strong winds and blowing snow knocks out power on East Coast

HALIFAX – Thousands of people on the East Coast lost power and schools were cancelled Monday after blasts of winter wind and wet snow swept through the region.

Power crews in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador worked to restore electricity in frigid conditions.

But a spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Power said they were having difficulty reaching some areas in the southern half of the province because of poor driving conditions.

“They’re experiencing severe weather there (in the Annapolis Valley) which is causing travel delays for our crews,” said Lauren Brown.

In New Brunswick, NB Power issued a statement saying the storm had exacted a toll on some of its infrastructure.

“The storm has certainly created significant damage including broken poles and large trees on lines,” company spokeswoman Meghan Gerrish said.

Environment Canada said strong winds caused blowing snow and near-zero visibility driving conditions in some areas. In western Cape Breton, wind gusts approached 160 kilometres per hour.

Between 20 to 40 centimetres of snow fell in New Brunswick, while P.E.I. and Nova Scotia had varying amounts of snowfall mixed with rain.

Over 50 communities in Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula lost power when the storm hit Sunday evening, and crews were still restoring power to those communities as of Monday.

Schools were shut down in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as police warned of hazardous driving conditions throughout the region.

Airports in Halifax and in St. John’s, N.L., reported some cancellations and delays early in the morning.

Marine Atlantic cancelled both of its crossings between North Sydney, N.S., and Port aux Basques, N.L., on Sunday.