HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – Arthur hit Canada’s Maritime provinces Saturday with near-hurricane strength winds and torrential rains, knocking down trees and leaving about 250,000 customers without power.
Canadian Hurricane Centre spokesman Chris Fogarty said winds were easing, but more rainfall was predicted for already drenched southwestern New Brunswick.
Arthur was downgraded from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm Saturday morning by the time it reached Atlantic Canada after swiping a day earlier at North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but it still packed a punch.
Environment Canada measured wind gusts topping 72 mph in the Halifax area, while more than 5 inches of rain already had fallen in some areas of New Brunswick.
Nova Scotia Power said about 135,000 of its customers were without power at mid-afternoon Saturday. New Brunswick’s main electrical utility reported more than 115,000 outages by mid-afternoon. It warned some residents they could be without power for up to 48 hours because of widespread damage caused by the storm.
Police in Saint John, New Brunswick, said some local roads were closed because they were covered by floodwater. The storm also caused flight cancellations and delays at the region’s largest airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Far to the south, North Carolina’s popular beach towns began returning to the business of recreation Saturday, after Arthur lashed the state’s coast with forceful winds and heavy rain.
The hurricane’s effects in North Carolina were mostly confined to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.
New England largely was spared from damage spawned by the storm.