In the Maritime Provinces, we’re no strangers to weather warnings.
In the forecasts leading up to July 5, 2014, the warnings were serious, but we’ve all seen them before. Rainfall warnings, high wind warnings, storm surges and all that. More often than not, those southern storms coming up the East Coast hit the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean North of say, Boston, and then fizzle out, usually just rustling the branches a little bit and making for a miserable rainy day.
Then Arthur came to town. We woke up Saturday July 5th to a heavy downpour that last all day. Flooding was immediate and serious. This video below is of a small culvert in my neighbourhood that I rarely notice when I drive by.
But rain in the Maritimes? Meh. We’ve all got our Canadian Tire rain jackets and ugly boots. Twitter feeds here were still optimistically pleasant as winds remained calm, at least in the Saint John region.
Then it changed.
Winds gradually ramped up after lunch as the back end of the post-tropical storm moved east. The region was pounded by high winds – 90 km/h gusts, just like we were warned – through the afternoon and evening before finally tapering to just very breezy overnight. Power outages were already widespread by Saturday evening and on Sunday, New Brunswickers woke up to a level of damage the region hasn’t seen in generations.
More than 140,000 NB Power customers had no power, a new record. Hundreds of trees around Saint John had been knocked down, many more than a century old. The epicentre of the damage was Fredericton where over 2,000 trees were toppled. Social media was filled with images of trees down, leaning on houses, crushing cars.
Today, July 10, more than 35,000 NB Power customers are still waiting for power to come back on in their homes and in many businesses, five days after Arthur rolled through. Power line crews from Maine, P.E.I. and other areas have come in to help but some customers may still be out until the weekend.
Michael Hawkins is Wicked Ideas image editor. Follow him on Twitter @hawkalicious for up-to-the minute Rothesay Weather Updates, food pics and funk music non sequiturs.