UPDATE: The Cumberland regional EMO office is opening the Wallace Community Hall as a warming station until 7 p.m. tonight.
AMHERST – Cumberland County appears to be relatively unscathed following a vicious winter storm that rolled through the area Thursday and early Friday.
Winds with gusts nearing 90 km/h, snow and rain knocked out power to several thousand homes around the county while a storm surge early Friday morning saw the Northumberland Strait inundate some wharfs between Tidnish and Malagash.
“While the winds were fierce we did fairly well. It doesn’t appear as though there’s a lot of damage, but we’re not done with this yet. The wind is not supposed to come down in strength until after noon,” Cumberland County’s EMO co-ordinator Mike Johnson said early Friday.
As of Friday morning, approximately 500 Nova Scotia Power customers in Cumberland County are without electricity. At the storm’s peak, more than 110,000 Nova Scotians were without power, including along the South Shore and in Halifax that were in a similar situation two weeks ago when another storm hit the area Christmas morning.
The storm surge along the Northumberland Strait was one of the highest Johnson has seen. Ice was pushed onto the wharf at Northport while ice was also scraping along the bottom of the single-lane bridge in Lower Shinimicas.
Power was out in most of Amherst for an extended period Thursday afternoon and evening and some sections of the town lost power overnight and early Friday morning.
Johnson said Amherst opened a comfort centre at the fire department on Thursday evening and it was reopened this morning to give people a place to get warm and recharge electronic devices like phones and computers.
“We will be looking at other comfort centres at the need arises. There are still power outages in the Pugwash and Parrsboro areas so we will be assessing the situation to determine whether we need to open comfort centres in those locations,” Johnson said.
With temperatures expected to plummet below -10 C into the weekend, Johnson is hoping power is reconnected to as many homes as possible.
“People are pretty resilient in this part of the province,” he said. “They’ve been through this before.”
He is hoping the weather does send a message to Nova Scotians that they need to be prepared. He said it’s always wise to have a storm kit on hand and to be prepared to be without assistance for at least 72 hours.