YARMOUTH, N.S. – It wasn't a white Christmas but the wind certainly made it a wild one in southwestern Nova Scotia and other parts of the province.
Christmas day had started out with freezing rain and cars and the roadway coated with ice. But it is the wind that came later in the day that most will associate with Christmas day 2017.
The damaging winds – which Environment Canada had warned would gust from 90 km/h to 110 km/h – knocked out power to tens of thousands of people on Dec. 25 and according to the Nova Scotia Power outage map on Tuesday morning. Dec. 26, at 10 a.m., there were still 1,273 active outages affecting 49,168 customers, with many of these outages still happening in Yarmouth and Shelburne counties. Power crews were able to restore power involving other outages by Christmas day evening after areas lost power in the early afternoon, but not before people had to postpone Christmas suppers or come up with alternate meal plans or cooking methods. People were cooking turkeys in camping trailers, using generators, while others opted for sandwiches and cheese and cracker plates instead.
Nova Scotia Power is reporting that it has had more than 650 people working across the province to restore power, with almost 400 frontline personnel, and more than 250 support staff.
Fishing harbours and shorelines looked like the open ocean on Monday as waves churned in the harbours. Downed trees blocking roads were a common occurrence as the wind snapped trees in half. Shingles and siding were blown off some houses.
The Environment Canada station at the Yarmouth Airport recorded wind gusts of 86, 87 and 84 km/h over a three-hour period on Monday, Dec. 25, with those happening between 3 and 6 p.m. At the Baracco Point Environment Canada weather station wind gusts of 102, 117, 115 and 109 km/h were recorded between 2 and 5 p.m., as sustained winds were in the in the low to mid-90 km/h range.
Here's a sampling of comments people were sharing on Dec. 25 to the Yarmouth Vanguard Facebook page in describing the weather:
Nicole Caux: "Part of my sis's tree in Hebron fell. Praise the Lord just missed our car. Top of another tree in Hebron leaning on wires."
Lynette and Jason Foster: "Power is out in Wedgeport with a broken pole and many trees down."
Valerie Amiro Belliveau: "Power out in East Pubnico. Trees down, power and phone poles broken, transformers blowing. Barns collapsing. Wharfs are taking a beating."
Rhonda Amirault Townsend: "Power has been out since 2:30 p.m.. On Cape Island.. a lot of trees down.. seen shingles off houses, wires down.. Wild day that’s for sure!"
Christina Watkins: "We live on the Harbor on the Grove Road and had 3 glass window panels break. Our swing blew off it's hinges and blew into the house. Right in the midst of turkey dinner making!"
In addition to the damage reported, other people described how they were taking things in stride.
Tom Boudreau: "Mother and I played cribbage under kerosene lamps for a dollar a game, and ended up even when power came back on."
Chantel Cunningham: "No power Rocco Point. Thankful for generator and woodstove."
Winona Pierce: "Despite the high winds and a few flickerings of the lights, my apple pies and butter tarts are done and a load of laundry got finished. Now to read a book and relax for the evening."
Then there were concerns of a different matter, said Telah Cottreau; "Power went out in Wedgeport. We had to have stove top cooked supper and had to run about trying to keep 6 chicken eggs warm cuz the incubator needs power to run and keep the eggs warm. Hoping they will hatch when the time comes. They have been in my pockets most of the night, she said. Although she also got some other help from her cat Rose.