HALIFAX — Weariness with severe weather set in Monday in Atlantic Canada as the region coped with power outages, slippery roads and coastal erosion caused by the fourth storm in as many weeks.
Utility websites showed that by 3 p.m. about 7,000 homes and businesses in Nova Scotia and a similar number in New Brunswick were without power, while several thousand customers in Prince Edward Island were also waiting for the lights to come back on.
Blizzard conditions were forecast for northern New Brunswick as snow was driven by gusting winds.
Karl Wilmot, a senior manager with the Emergency Measures Organization in New Brunswick, said people calling his office were fatigued and depressed.
“After a repetition of four times in less than a month, fatigue and malaise of the whole thing sets in and people are definitely wearing down,” said Wilmot in a telephone interview from Fredericton.
“You can tell in peoples’ voices when they call to register under the disaster financial assistance that people are tired.”
Four storms have hit the province this month, ranging from heavy rainfall in the south to coastal flooding in the east.
Over 150 people were forced to move out of flooded homes in southwestern New Brunswick and the Keswick Ridge area after the second storm.
Last week, high waves pounded the east coast of the province from the Miramichi through to Shediac, forcing more evacuations.
Wilmot said assessment teams that had been doing inspections of damaged homes were forced to stop their work on Monday due to slippery roads.
Linda Libby, a forecaster with Environment Canada, said Monday’s storm eased during the day.
However, she said it would pick up again in the evening when strong northwesterly winds arrive.
During the day temperatures hovered around zero in southern New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, causing the snow to turn to rain and making the roads treacherous and slushy.
“My biggest concern for today are the road conditions, given the temperatures out there. What can be wet and sloppy and not that bad can become icy and hazardous very quickly,” Libby said Monday.
The forecaster was also calling for storm surges along the east coast of New Brunswick between Miramichi and Shediac, where a surge last week caused widespread damage to beaches and buildings.
Libby says it’s possible there will also be storm surges of up to one metre in Nova Scotia’s Pictou County and along the coasts of P.E.I.
Wilmot said that EMO in New Brunswick had contacted its local managers along the east coast about the latest warning.
“We don’t expect the water levels to be quite as high as last week, but we are expecting the pounding surf,” he said.
Environment Canada said southwestern Newfoundland could see strong wind gusts of over 100 km/h.
Libby said there are also snowfall warnings in place for central Newfoundland and there was a mix of snow and rain expected in eastern Newfoundland.
December has been a difficult month for many parts of the Atlantic region, where roads and bridges have been damaged, homes flooded, fishing gear destroyed and some wharfs and boardwalks pounded to bits.
In Cape Breton, rainfall levels have been triple the average. The island was receiving heavy snowfalls in its northern counties on Monday.
The storm system caused thousands of flight cancellations Sunday in the northeastern U.S., and there were delays reported at the Halifax airport on Monday.
Dozens of U.S. bound flights from Canada, mainly from Toronto, have been cancelled or delayed, and travellers are advised to check the status of their flights before heading to the airport.