Grand Manan hit hardest by storm - Feb. 13, 2013
Charlotte County residents emerged from Saturday’s storm in far better shape than other Maritimers, according to Municipal Services representative Darren McCabe.
“On Saturday we were doing a polling of the region and everyone seemed to hunker down and bore the storm fairly well. There were sporadic power outages and road conditions were awful, but generally I think people just waited it out and we didn’t have any events to report.”
McCabe said he expected to see more power outages due to the strong winds but while NB Power was reporting some outages in the St. Stephen area these seemed like isolated occurrences.
However, this was not the case on Grand Manan where 631 customers were without power on the weekend for periods from three to eight hours, said Meghan Gerrish, communications officer for NB Power.
“The power went out three times on Grand Manan - once during Saturday night then again around midday Sunday and then again in the evening. They would just get it cleared up and it would go again. It was mostly trees on the line.”
Fortunately, said Gerrish, in anticipation of the well-forecast strong winds, NB Power sent two additional line crews over to the island ahead of the storm.
“We relocated crews throughout the province as we tracked the storm. We anticipated areas which would be hardest hit and we relocated crews to the island.”
At one point, NB Power’s outage lists indicated 669 Grand Manan customers without power.
Village manager Rob MacPherson praised the NB Power crews who worked on the island as well as the road crew. He said they made life more than bearable during the storm.
“Down our way it was out for 10 to 12 hours at one stage and then again for about an hour. How they kept ahead of it I don’t know. They did a wonderful job.”
Despite the conditions, MacPherson said crews kept roads on the island open.
“Considering the circumstances there was no major damage although I understand Klaus (Sonnenberg) lost a hangar at the airport and the ferry didn’t run all day Saturday.
“I live right on the water and the snow I had in the yard from the last storm is up in the woods somewhere. There were huge drifts. I was looking at Swallowtail (lighthouse) and the waves were going right over the tower.”
A wind gauge at MacPherson’s Ingalls Head home registered winds of 117 kph at 3:30 a.m. Saturday and after daylight it was in the 105 to 108 kph range, he said.
“There are some shingles gone but, as far as overall damage, it was not too bad. There was debris on the highway in Castalia that the high water put there.
“There are significant changes at Stanley’s Beach because they got the brunt of it and there is some erosion on the bank around Castalia but it is amazing there was not more damage. People just hunkered down and waited it out.”
Saint Andrews town manager Tim Henderson said the town didn’t encounter any major problems during the storm although it blew hard and the Algonquin, which is undergoing major renovations, lost a few more shingles.
However, he said, this was not as bad as the last wind storm. He said trouble was expected with the tides but there were no problems there.
“Our roads were never really closed. I don’t think we lost any streets during the storm and there were no power outages. It was a pretty smooth ride considering what it could have been.”
In St. George the town crew had to contend with a water break at the corner of School Street and Carleton which occurred Saturday night, said town manager Jamie Carr.
“At about 1 a.m. we were notified by the RCMP, who were driving around, that there was water flowing down towards South Street. We just shut the water off for that section of Carleton Street.
“There were not too many homes affected and they got at it first thing yesterday (Sunday) morning and it was all fixed and running again by noon.”
Other than that, said Carr, high winds made plowing difficult but it didn’t seem like the area received as much snow as was forecast, though he noted accumulations were hard to measure because of the drifting, wind-driven snow.
Blacks Harbour village manager Heather Chase said that apart from lots of blowing storm there was nothing out of the ordinary and she was not aware of any other issues.