Winds gusting as high as 135 km/h on the Confederation Bridge between P.E.I. and New Brunswick led officials to close the service to some vehicles, as well as causing scattered power outages across P.E.I. throughout the day Thursday.
Environment Canada first put out a gale warning for the Northumberland Strait on Wednesday, continuing into Friday.
As of 8:10 p.m. Thursday, Maritime Electric was reporting 635 customers without power across P.E.I.
Truckers' schedules affected
Kim Frechette was among those waiting and hoping for the winds to die down.
"It feels funny to be stuck here and to not be able to roll during the day," said Frechette, a truck driver from Drummondville, Que., who was waiting at Confederation Bridge Thursday afternoon.
"It does affect our schedule, unfortunately."
By mid-afternoon, Northumberland Ferries had cancelled its 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. crossings from Wood Islands and the 8 and 11:15 a.m. from Caribou, N.S., for Friday. It had already preemptively cancelled all sailings between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia for Thursday due to the forecast.
Environment Canada did not issue a wind warning for P.E.I., however — despite the fact that Thursday's mild, wet weather was often very blustery.
"We did not see winds reach warning criteria for sustained winds or gusts," explained CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland. That criteria is for sustained wind of 70 km/h with gusts 90 km/h or more. He noted only one site Environment Canada measures registered a gust over 90 km/h on Thursday — that was North Cape at 91 km/h — and that is a very exposed coastal site.
Collapse at work site
In Charlottetown, winds were strong enough to cause significant damage to a construction site.
APM MacLean was working on a building off the Brackley Point Road when a gust of wind knocked down all the trusses, taking other portions of the structure down with it. Five people were underneath the structure at the time.
"Thank God nobody was hurt, not even a scratch, and there was a bunch of equipment in under there that some of it's tipped over. I don't know how much damage there is, but the structure itself, the trusses, the walls, they're basically all gone," said APM CEO Tim Banks.
"There's been some afternoon gusts and we've had to shut the crews down."
Crews will be back Friday to begin dismantling and disposing of the structure, as well as retrieving the three pieces of equipment that are now underneath it.
Banks said the damage will set the project back several months.
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