Huge thunderstorm rips through Acadian Peninsula – New Brunswick

 A severe thunderstorm knocked power out to thousands of customers on the Acadian Peninsula in New Brunswick Thursday evening.

Heavy winds split power poles in half, and tore large roofing tiles off a store in downtown Caraquet, littering the street below.

The island of Lameque in the northeast of the province was cut off after fallen power poles blocked the only road in.

The storm ripped across the Bay of Chaleur along northern New Brunswick, with reports of hail in the community of Belledune and more power lines down in Grande-Anse. The heaviest damage was reported in the towns of Shippagan and Caraquet.

Social media was filled with reports of the storm along with photo and video posts.

As of 9:30 p.m., NB Power was reporting 6,476 customers affected.

By 11:10 p.m., crews had been able to redirect some power sources and reduced the outages to 4,394.

The main concern is the causeway to Lameque, which was littered with poles knocked down by the high winds.

“Crews right now are concentrating on securing the road access to Lameque,” said Marie-Andrée Bolduc of NB Power. “The main concern is to safely secure that access. Some of the poles are dual purpose, transmission and distribution, so it’s going to be complicated.”

Some outages will continue to Friday

There’s still a lot of work to do, and it will be well into Friday before power is back for everyone.

“The restoration is going to go into tomorrow just because of the complexity of this,” said Bolduc. “Obviously as it’s night time, they’ll do what they can, but in some areas it’s going to have to go into tomorrow.”

The times of restoration will be posted on the NB Power website when they become available, said Bolduc.

In the meantime, crews are being sent from around the province, as well as more equipment and replacement poles.

A helicopter will assist in the work Friday,…

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