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UPDATED: Widespread power outages, closed schools and downed trees caused by Tuesday storm

Environment Canada is warning that wind gusts could reach up to 90 km/h across Prince County today. As of 9 a.m. there was multiple reports of downed trees and damaged property in the Summerside area and the rest of Prince County.
High winds at the Summerside waterfront. - Colin MacLean

High winds Tuesday made for a bad day for trees and anyone with an election sign in Prince County.

Saltwire Network Chief meteorologist Cindy Day was warning wind gusts could reach up to 90 km/h across Prince County through the morning and early afternoon.

The wind caused widespread power outages, which forced schools in the Summerside, Westisle and Montague families of facilities to close early for the day.

Trees were down across Summerside and crews were kept busy trying to keep ahead of the cleanup. On Central Street, a mass of large branches fell across the road on at least two occasions, forcing city staff to divert traffic while they cleared debris.

Power went out to the city at about 10:55 a.m. Summerside Electric turned on its diesel backup generators at about 11:10 a.m. This allowed power to come back on in much of the city, but not all.

“The city has enough resources in diesel generators to provide electricity to about half of the Summerside electric customers. The city concentrated on the schools and public facilities providing services to the public as its first provision of power and those that do not have capabilities of back up generation on site,” said Greg Gaudet, director of municipal services.

Full power was restored to the city by 2:05 p.m.

Outside of Summerside, Maritime Electric crews spent the day clearing fallen trees from power lines and restoring power to rural municipalities and individual customers, including the removal of a large tree from power lines in Bedeque.

The wind also caused a relatively rare complete closure of the Confederation Bridge to all traffic for some time. It later opened to some cars but remained closed to any high-sided vehicles. Northumberland Ferries Ltd. cancelled all crossings for the day as a safety precaution.

Day said Islanders should continue to keep an eye on the weather over the next couple of days as it could include some of the first wet snow of the year for some areas.

“The break between systems is going to be short lived,” said Day.  “Another area of low pressure approaching P.E.I. from the west will bring clouds and late day showers from west to east on Wednesday. Behind that system, more wind: west gusting between 50 and 70 km/h on Thursday. That wind could trigger onshore flurries – the first of the season for some. Friday will be fair but cool.”

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