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Maritimers grow weary of multiple storms as rain, snow hit region again

HALIFAX, N.S. – 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 6:30 p.m. local time, about 18,000 homes and businesses in New Brunswick were without power, and about 5,000 were in the dark in Nova Scotia, mainly in the Annapolis Valley and the province’s northern reaches.

Power outages were also reported throughout Prince Edward Island. A spokesman for Maritime Electric said about 7,500 were without power in the afternoon, but that number had fallen to about 1,500 by early evening.

Meanwhile, police say slippery roads played a role in a fatal accident in P.E.I. A 25-year-old Island man was killed when an eastbound minivan lost control and was struck by westbound pickup on Route 2.

The driver of the minivan was pronounced dead at the scene. The pickup driver sustained minor injuries.

Meanwhile, blizzard conditions descended on parts of northern New Brunswick.

Karl Wilmot, a senior manager with the Emergency Measures Organization in New Brunswick, said people calling his office said they were tired 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,” Wilmot said in an 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.

Some 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 region to Shediac, forcing more evacuations.

Wilmot said assessment teams conducting inspections of damaged homes were forced to stop working 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.

During the day, temperatures hovered around zero in southern New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, causing the snow to turn to rain, making the roads treacherous and slushy.

“My biggest concern for today are the road conditions, given the temperatures out there,” Libby said. “What can be wet and sloppy and not that bad can become icy and hazardous very quickly.”

The forecaster was also calling for storm surges along the east coast of New Brunswick, where a surge last week caused widespread damage to beaches and buildings.

Libby said storm surges of up to one metre were expected in Nova Scotia’s Pictou County and along the coasts of P.E.I.

“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 kilometres per hour.

Libby said there were 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 and cancellations reported throughout the Maritimes.

Dozens of U.S.-bound flights from Canada, mainly from Toronto, were cancelled or delayed. 

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