A state of emergency continued Wednesday morning in the hamlet of Sanirajak, Nunavut, as local crews work to restore electricity knocked out by a powerful winter storm.
Louis Primeau, the hamlet's chief administrative officer, said power had been restored to the water plant, but the hamlet office is now without power.
"There are other parts of town that are [now] without power, and other parts of town that are restored," he said.
Primeau said about a quarter of the town was affected by the initial outage. On Wednesday morning, a spokesperson for Qulliq Energy Corporation said about 11 per cent of the town is still without power.
"Additional crews are required to restore power to all remaining customers, but are not able to fly due to weather conditions," wrote Renee Boucher, a spokesperson with the company. "Crews, along with the charter company, continue monitoring weather for improvements."
Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for Sanirajak, where winds are gusting to 90 km/h and wet snow is falling. Temperatures are near freezing.
The airport remains without power, posing an additional challenge for crews trying to land. Primeau said Raytheon, which operates the radar air defence system near Sanirajak, is providing the airport with temporary power. If that fails, the hamlet will light the strip with snowmobile and truck lights if power cannot be restored by local crews in time for their next attempt.
Primeau said the outage began around 2:00 a.m. Tuesday. High winds and wet snow caused power lines to sway and spark. A line crew sent to repair the damage was unable to land due to high winds and poor visibility.
The hamlet has set up an emergency shelter at the school gymnasium for those with no power and "nowhere warm to stay," Primeau said.
"We've arranged for a bunch of food … to be brought to both places," he said.
The principal told Primeau approximately 130 people were there as of Wednesday afternoon. A second shelter at the community hall was forced to close when the generator failed.
Nunavut's chief public health officer has granted a temporary exemption to COVID-19 regulations that limit the number of people that can share space.
Primeau estimated as many as 250 residents may be affected. The town has a population of about 850.
The local co-op store, initially unaffected by the outage, was closed Wednesday morning.