Clean-up begins in earnest after post-tropical storm Lee leaves Halifax behind | The Coast Halifax

Clean-up begins in earnest after post-tropical storm Lee leaves Halifax behind

An estimated 130 trees are down across Halifax, and more than 87,000 Nova Scotia Power customers remain without electricity as of Sunday.

A fallen tree on Kent Street has left some apartment residents without power since Saturday morning.

Todd Ashley is having the morning of all mornings. The co-resident manager of 5240 Kent Street, a three-storey apartment building owned by Killam Apartment REIT, has been on the phone for most of early Sunday looking to corral someone to clear up the mess in front of his building so his neighbours can get their power back. A telephone wire is slung low across the street like a slackline. Orange pylons block the traffic from Queen and Barrington Streets. One-third of an elm tree is leaning on the crumpled hood of a white Hyundai SUV. Across the branch-littered road, a blue Pontiac is missing its rear windshield. The power has been out on Kent since Saturday morning, Ashley tells The Coast. He was out of the apartment on a call when the elm tree snapped and toppled, ripping the building’s power pole off its hinges and nearly rupturing its gas line along with it.

“We’re lucky,” Ashley says. “If that [gas line] had been pulled off, our whole building could’ve blown up.”

A crew from Eastlink has just left after cleaning up their share of cables—they came when they saw photos of the street on the news. Ashley has been waiting for another telephone company—you probably know the one—to send a crew, but they want to know if he’s a customer first. He just wants the cables off the street.

click to enlarge Clean-up begins in earnest after post-tropical storm Lee leaves Halifax behind
Martin Bauman / The Coast
Eastlink workers remove a fallen telephone wire from Kent Street on Sept. 17, 2023.

“I’ve been told they need to get all the wires out before Nova Scotia Power can come and do anything,” he tells The Coast.

Ashley is far from the only one waking up with a Hurricane Lee-sized headache: As of mid-Sunday morning, more than 87,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were still waiting for their electricity to return. Large swathes of Halifax aren’t expected to see power restored until late Sunday night. And as the post-tropical storm leaves Nova Scotia behind, the province is in for another clean-up.

Winds gusted up to 117 km/h at storm’s peak

It wasn’t Hurricane Fiona, but the winds still packed a punch: The highest gusts recorded at Halifax Stanfield International Airport reached 117 km/h. The wind brought crashing waves at Peggy’s Cove, Point Pleasant Park and along Eastern Passage’s Shore Road, which flooded over with debris.

Trees fell at Point Pleasant Park near the Tower Road entrance, leading the HRM to close off access to the popular coastal park. Falling debris from a South Street construction site prompted a partial road closure.

click to enlarge Clean-up begins in earnest after post-tropical storm Lee leaves Halifax behind
Martin Bauman / The Coast
Construction workers clear debris that fell from a South Street apartment building under construction on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023.

Erica Fleck, the HRM’s director of emergency management, told CBC News that Lee downed an estimated 130 trees and led to multiple washouts across the region. (Last year’s Hurricane Fiona uprooted more than 400 trees across Halifax.) At the storm’s peak on Saturday, Sept. 16, more than 146,000 Nova Scotia Power customers across the province lost electricity. According to Halifax Fire News, HRM fire crews responded to roughly 240 calls between Friday evening and late Sunday morning.

Numerous traffic lights were still dark as of Sunday morning, including major intersections at Connaught Avenue and Quinpool Road, and Robie Street and South Street. Ferry operations have resumed.

click to enlarge Clean-up begins in earnest after post-tropical storm Lee leaves Halifax behind
Martin Bauman / The Coast
Traffic lights remain dark at Connaught and Quinpool on Sept. 17, 2023.

Three emergency shelters remain open Sunday: Captain Spry Community Centre, St. Matthew’s Church and Beacon House. The former two will close today, while Beacon House will run until 8am on Monday.