After a weekend of high winds and torrential rain triggered by Hurricane Dorian, emergency responders in eastern Canada began the task of restoring electricity in the region after more than 500.000 residents were without power.
Dorian was downgraded to a post-tropical storm when he arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Saturday night, but the wind speed still reached 150 km / h (93 mph), similar in intensity to a 2 category hurricane.
Trees, power lines, and even a crane in downtown Halifax were knocked down by the heavy gusts, leaving half a million people without power and, in many cases, without cell phone service. More than 100 mm of rain also fell in less than 24 hours.
Although the intensity of the storm has nothing to do with the 5 hurricane that devastated the Bahamas last week, widespread damage has left emergency teams fighting for the collection of maritime provinces.
"This is an exercise in days, not hours," Karen Hutt, CEO of Nova Scotia Power, told reporters on Sunday. "We are operating in our worst case scenario."
Energy technicians from Ontario, Quebec, Maine - and as far away as Florida - were sent to help local teams restore energy. The Canadian military also mobilized forces to help clear roads.
On Monday, when power was restored in some areas, residents were left to assess the damage. Many of the streets in Halifax, the largest city on the east coast, have had large trees torn away, tearing up sidewalks and roads and knocking down power lines. At least 200.000 remained without electricity in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Long lines outside fast-food restaurants - including the Tim Hortons coffee chain - blocked emergency vehicle routes, prompting city officials to ask residents to stay home.
“People need to stay off the roads today. Let's go over there and do our job, ”Erica Fleck, assistant chief of Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, told reporters on Sunday.
"We can't clean [the roads] until we can hit the roads, and 300 cars in a drive-thru are now really stopping our progress."
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil also criticized residents for blocking traffic. “There will be plenty of time for you to come down and have your coffee. You do not have to do this today. It is important to allow the level of professionals we have in this province to go out and do their work, ”he said at a weekend news conference.
Public schools were closed across the region on Monday, as teams worked to cut down trees and repair broken down power lines, hoping the power would be fully restored later this week.
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