Severe thunderstorm leaves 13,000 without power in Fredericton

A storm that battered Fredericton with wind gusts of up to 90 km/h and as much as 20 millimetres of rain Friday evening brought down trees and left thousands of customers without power.

Environment Canada forecaster Jean-Marc Couturier said isolated thunderstorms intensified as they moved over southern New Brunswick. 

"They were strong enough to generate hail and then strong (wind) gusts as well," he said. "One of these individual storms hit and impacted the Fredericton area." 

Couturier said the individual storm cells were moving quite fast, at an estimated speed of 50 to 60 km/h. 

"They wouldn't have stayed at one place very long." 

Couturier said an automated weather station showed one gust of 90 km/h. 

"But then based on radar estimates it's possible that these down drafts were even stronger … at this point though it's kind of speculation and those are estimates," he said.  

Couturier said with leaves still growing, such strong winds can have quite an impact on vegetation, trees and branches. He added large hail stones about three centimetres in diameter could have also caused damage. 

Submitted/Brittany Rioux

Downed trees across power lines and broken poles have left 13,000 customers without power in the Fredericton region. 

Couturier said intense lightning could also have been a factor in the power outage.  

The heavy rain flooded some streets. 

Rick Cunjak, who lives on Scully Street, said the storm hit so quickly it left him and his wife scrambling to close windows and bring in patio furniture. 

The City of Fredericton posted on Twitter that crews are currently cleaning up roads, streets and sidewalks.

"Many traffic lights are out, so please treat affected intersections like four-way stops. Stay safe, everyone."

The Fredericton Fire Department is at the scene of a house fire on George Street.

Jonathan Price said he was out for a bike ride and getting ready to go home when the rain and wind struck. He got to his car and was inside when a tree branch came down on top of it. He was unhurt. 

"Not how I expected to spend my Friday night, that's for sure." Price said. 

The NB Power website indicates there is no estimated time of restoration for the outages.

Environment Canada had issued a thunderstorm watch just after 6 p.m. for Fredericton and Southern York County and Oromocto and Sunbury County. 

Maria Burgos/CBC

Both the watch and warning were lifted shortly after 7 p.m in the Fredericton area.