Thousands of Island homes were without power Saturday afternoon as a major winter storm slammed P.E.I. for the second time in a week.
About 3,000 Maritime Electric customers were dealing with power outages as of 5:30 p.m., as the storm that began overnight continued to sweep through the Maritimes. Close to 8,000 customers had no power in the morning.
Maritime Electric said restoration for those homes that remained without power could take some time. All of the company's crews were on standby to get on the road this morning, but most couldn't do so due to poor road conditions.
Plow operators helped the company gain access to certain communities on Saturday.
"Many of the roads across Prince Edward Island are not open at this time. Our crews have been able to do some work this morning, [but] it's been very challenging driving conditions," company spokesperson Kim Griffin said.
"Our crews will stay out and do their best to restore power as safely as possible, but it's very slow going in this weather."
The outages were located all across P.E.I., but the majority of homes currently without power are in the east. A map can be found here.
Weather warning still on
An Environment Canada winter storm alert was lifted for Prince and Queens this afternoon, though it remained in place in Kings County as of 5:30 p.m. Blowing snow advisories in the other two counties were in effect.
CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland said some areas were reporting nearly 30 centimetres of snow by mid-morning, with more snow falling throughout the day.
"As falling snow continues to ease, blowing/drifting snow will still be a big issue tonight. Please stay home if possible, so those who have to be out in these conditions are safer," he said.
Scotland said winds peaked at between 80 and 100 km/hr, so drifting was "significant, to say the least."
Griffin said the strong winds created a challenge to getting the power restored.
"This is different from the storm last weekend because with the storm last weekend we didn't have so many sustained hours of wind and blowing snow," she said.
Plows off the road
Provincial plows remained off the road and were only responding to emergencies due to the weather conditions. The P.E.I. government said on social media they will remain out of operation until Sunday morning.
In Charlottetown, plows started opening the streets Saturday afternoon.
Officials also warned Islanders not to travel amid poor visibility and blowing snow.
The Confederation Bridge was closed to all traffic Friday at 8 p.m.
The Charlottetown Airport flights scheduled for this weekend were cancelled, as has rapid COVID-19 testing at the airport due to the weather.
The Borden-Carleton, Charlottetown and Summerside testing clinics were closed for the day.