Waves crash against rock embankments that protect the Escuminac road against erosion during Tropical storm Arthur in Escuminac, New Brunswick, on July 5, 2014. / Diane Doiron, AP
Downgraded to a post-tropical storm early Saturday, Arthur's hit Canada's Maritime provinces with near-hurricane strength winds and torrential rains, knocking down trees and leaving tens of thousands of people without power.
A day earlier it swiped at North Carolina's Outer Banks at hurricane strength, without causing major damage.
Environment Canada measured wind gusts topping 72 mph in the Halifax area, while more than 5 inches of rain had already fallen in some areas of New Brunswick.
Canadian Hurricane Centre spokesman Chris Fogarty said that winds were easing, but more rainfall is predicted for already drenched southwestern New Brunswick.
In Fredericton, New Brunswick, Mike Gange said the buffeting winds tore down a maple tree in his front yard, damaging roof tiles and a rain gutter as it fell. He said that as he drove around the New Brunswick provincial capital he saw about 25 homes with big trees knocked down.
Gange said he has not seen weather this severe in his 41 years in Fredericton.
"It's like a Tasmanian devil ripping through your backyard," he said. "It's crazy here ... at times it rains so hard you can't see 10 feet in front of you."
By late Saturday afternoon, Arthur was 19 miles southwest of Moncton, New Brunswick, with maximum sustained winds of 56 mph the Canadian Hurricane Centre said.
Nova Scotia Power said about 135,000 of its customers were without power at mid-afternoon Saturday. New Brunswick's main electrical utility reported more than 115,000 outages by mid-afternoon. It warned some residents they could be without power for up to 48 hours because of widespread damage caused by the storm.
NB Power said the largest number of outages was in Fredericton where winds of more than 62 mph had knocked down a number of large trees, leaving streets littered with debris.
Police in Saint John, New Brunswick, said some local roads were closed because they were covered by flood water. The storm also caused flight cancellations and delays at the region's largest airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Prince Edward Island said a number of electrical poles had been knocked down by the storm and roads were blocked by downed trees.
The Canadian Hurricane Center said the storm would end in the Maritimes overnight and then track northeast through the Gulf of St. Lawrence toward Newfoundland on Sunday.
Arthur reached landfall on North Carolina's Outer Banks last Thursday with winds of 100 mph, earning it a Category 2 status on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. Later downgraded to a Category 1 as it moved northeast into colder Atlantic water, it interrupted holiday plans at the start of the Independence Day weekend. North Carolina reported some homes and businesses flooded and trees toppled. Various Fourth of July fireworks celebrations were postponed. About 20 feet of the road connecting Hatteras Island to the mainland buckled, but was being reopened Saturday in stages. Ocracoke Island, a popular tourist spot, was without power, but a generator was providing electricity on a rotating basis and power is likely to be restored by Sunday.
As in North Carolina, the New England states largely dodged the worst of the storm, with some power outages and downed trees in Maine and Vermont reported amid heavy rains and potent winds. Flooding was reported in Massachusetts, and the Nova Star Ferry suspended service Friday and Saturday due to dangerous seas. No injuries or deaths were reported.
The storm lashed the resort island of Nantucket with much wind and rain Friday night. Rain disrupted some New York-area fireworks celebrations but cleared in time for the nation's largest fireworks display in the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn. In Boston, the famed Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, which was already moved up a day because of weather, was cut short Thursday due to heavy rain and weather-created fireworks in the form of lightning.
Arthur is the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. It is the earliest in the season a hurricane has made landfall in North Carolina.
Contributing: Claudia Puig; Associated Press
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