Remnants of Juan hit Canada's eastern coast

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island -- The downgraded remnants of Hurricane Juan knocked out power and sank boats at a yacht club Monday while blowing across Prince Edward Island before heading out to sea and quickly losing steam.

Hurricane Juan lashed Nova Scotia with 86 mph winds Sunday, ripping off roofs, uprooting trees, knocking out power and killing two people before weakening to a tropical storm and heading north to Prince Edward Island. The storm weakened to a tropical depression and was headed out to sea, where it was expected to dissipate.

Two fishermen from Caraquet, New Brunswick, disappeared when a boat carrying a load of wood sank off Quebec's Anticosti Island. The boat's captain reached shore safely but there was no sign of the others.

On Prince Edward Island, the storm knocked out power and sank boats at the Charlottetown yacht club.

Provincial elections, however, went ahead as scheduled.

Voters negotiated downed power lines and trees to get to ballot stations, while Premier Pat Binns voted near his home in Murray River by a single light powered by a generator.

More than 100,000 people in Nova Scotia, on Canada's Atlantic coast, were without power Monday, and many said the storm was more powerful than any they could remember. Three people, including an ambulance driver, were killed when trees hit their vehicles.

Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia and the largest city on Canada's east coast, was hit the hardest.

In its downtown, boulders the size of garbage cans were hurled from the water's edge like pebbles. Dead or dying seagulls littered walkways.

'I was in awe'

Army troops joined dazed residents in the water-logged, tree-littered streets for the clean up.

"I was in awe myself at the sight of the destruction," said Mike Myette, a Nova Scotia Emergency Services official.

Defense Minister John McCallum said as many as 600 army troops would assist in removing hundreds of trees blown over onto houses and cars. Some city neighborhoods looked more like a jungle.

Some 200 patients were evacuated from one building of the sprawling Victoria General Hospital after the wind ripped off sections of the roof.

"It's bad," said Jim Terrio of the Halifax Waterfront Development Corp. "I've never seen anything like this and I grew up on the water."

In nearby Dartmouth, fierce winds tore off an apartment building's roof and knocked down a wall in a hallway, trapping three people, firefighters said. Police dug through the rubble but reported no injuries, and at least 200 residents evacuated from the four-story building spent the night at a local hockey arena.

Heavy rain also washed out train tracks and caused a 10-car derailment. No one was injured. The line serves oil facilities in the area.

Tropical storms routinely soak Atlantic Canada each summer and autumn, but a full-fledged hurricane making landfall is rare.

Juan arrived a week after Hurricane Isabel hit the U.S. coast, killing 40 people from North Carolina to New Jersey.

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