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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Power out for thousands, crews struggling on Prince Edward Island

Schools closed for fifth day in a row

About 3,300 people are still without electricity on P.E.I., as the province deals with a slow-moving storm entering its third day over the Island Tuesday morning.
The weather forced the cancellation of schools for the fifth day in a row.
The storm has been through several phases, with snow on Sunday that turned to heavy rains overnight. By early Monday morning it was freezing rain in western P.E.I., and that spread eastward across the province. Overnight Monday it changed to snow. The snow is thick, heavy, and very difficult to drive through. With winds blowing at 50 km/h gusting to 70, visibility is poor.
But it was the freezing rain that caused big trouble for Maritime Electric, bringing down lines and poles. By 6 p.m. Monday 15,000 customers were without power. Most of them had electricity restored by 11 p.m. Company spokeswoman Kim Griffin told CBC News Tuesday morning the weather is making things difficult for repair crews.
"The conditions are really, really tough out there. Visibility is nil in some areas, so I think we could be in for some more challenges in terms of accessing our customers today," said Griffin.
"We'll certainly do our best to get the crews out and on location to get our customers back on."
Early morning flights out of Charlottetown Airport were cancelled. Currently, the website is showing only delays on morning flights in and out of Halifax. Confederation Bridge is open to all traffic, but bridge officials are advising it could close to high-sided vehicles at any time if winds increase.
This is the 12th day in this school year schools have been closed due to storms. Last week the biggest storm of the season shut down schools Wednesday through Friday. Islanders had a brief respite with sunshine and temperatures above freezing on Saturday before the current slow-moving storm rolled into the province Sunday.
With parent-teacher interviews on March 7, a storm on March 13, March break, and storms closing school for the last three weekdays of the month, students attended school for only 10 days in March.
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