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Dorian leaves thousands without power in Cumberland County


Oxford residents asked to boil water

AMHERST, N.S. —

More than 17,000 are still without power in the area after hurricane Dorian slammed through Nova Scotia overnight Saturday.

“The wind was like something I’ve never seen before,” Cumberland County EMO co-ordinator Mike Johnson said Sunday. “The only thing that comparable would’ve been White Juan, but this is worst hurricane or tropical system I’ve experienced here.”

Johnson said winds were easily in excess of 100 km/h along the Northumberland Strait and more than 100 mm of rain fell across the area.

One of the problems is that widespread power outages affected the collection of data at several county fire halls that are equipped with rain gauges and wind meters.

The biggest issue, besides continued power outages, is downed trees and washouts in the Kolbec and Rockley areas near Oxford.

As well, Oxford is asking residents to boil their drinking water because of a prolonged power outage at its chlorination unit.

Several docks were ripped from their moorings along the Tidnish River and some boats that were in the water before the storm were deposited several metres inland by the storm surge.

“We really weren’t expecting the surge to be as high as it was,” he said.

There remains a telecommunications outage in the Amherst area and phone and internet service has been affected.

Johnson said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal crews as well as town crews in Amherst and Oxford are clearing debris from roads and streets.

One road that remained closed as of Sunday afternoon was East Victoria Street in Amherst, that is also part of Highway 6, or the Sunrise Trail.

A large tree fell across the road at about 10 p.m. Saturday.

“We were sitting in the living room in the dark trying to entertain ourselves when I heard the crack and a bang,” said Chris Rhindress, who lives in the apartment in front of where the tree fell. “At first, I thought it might have been a branch, but it was louder. I got up and looked out the window and saw the tree fall over. I thought ‘Oh my God, someone has to be hurt.’ Once I came out and saw the destruction I couldn’t believe no one was hurt.”

Tracey Webber was outside when it happened.

“When it came down, it came down fast. I could see the wires and told everyone to get back inside,” Webber said. “A car had just gone through there moments before. A couple seconds later, who knows what could have happened.”

Dave Wood and his wife, Jane, spent the night at their cottage. When they came back to Amherst, they found a large tree in the back of their Rupert Street home had fallen across their garage.

Bruce Baxter said it was one of the worst storms he has experienced.

“In a sense it was eerie,” said Baxter, whose property also lost a large tree. “It was sort of like being on a boat with the wind against window. The wind was howling. It was dark and there was no sound from any of the modern conveniences. It was a little surreal.”

Gary Miller said once the power went out Saturday afternoon, there was nothing to do but “hunker down and ride it out.”

Like many Amherst residents he was cleaning up his yard on Sunday. With no power, he expected to fire up the barbecue to make supper.

Mike Belliveau operates a tree and lawn service in Amherst. He expects he and others will be busy for several days.

“Getting lots of calls,” he said, “Going to be very busy.”

While there are numerous felled trees, he said, people in many cases were lucky because most trees missed homes and those that did strike a house or building settled on them as opposed to smashing them.

He said electricians are going to be busier than he will be. He saw a lot of homes where electrical masts were torn away by trees, branches or the force of the wind.

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