Arthur delivers devastating blow across province

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Waves continued to pound this boat against the dock.

Fickle Mother Nature shows Islanders full range of weekend weather conditions

The sun was shining brightly and the temperatures were in the low to mid-20s Saturday afternoon. The odds should have been very good that P.E.I. was enjoying a second sensational weekend in a row. But a third crucial element was far from benign. Once you heard the wind and then saw its destruction, you knew we were in big trouble. The gales from a very powerful but weakening former hurricane Arthur delivered a surprisingly powerful blow across the province.

With gusts well over 100 km/hr., it certainly felt close to the power of hurricane Juan more than a decade earlier. The damage on land and sea and the power outages, which continued over most of two days, certainly came close. Three boats sank at the Charlottetown yacht club, others were heavily damaged, the dock took a pounding, trees fell, branches and limbs rained down, more than 20,000 Island customers lost power for large parts of two days, and anything outdoors on Saturday became a casualty.

Islanders saw in living colour the raw power and fury of Mother Nature. Hurricane Juan arrived after midnight some 11 years ago but Arthur brazenly came ashore at midday. Those surging gusts were impressive and couldn’t have come at a worse time for outdoor events like the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, the P.E.I. Bluegrass Festival and a car show in Brudenell.  

It was hard to believe how quickly the weather changed from picture perfect and hot conditions on Friday, to the calamity on Saturday and then back to a humidity-free, spectacular day later Sunday.

Arthur was a tourist’s worst nightmare — an unwelcome visitor reluctant to leave — as southeast winds gusted to really dangerous levels by noon Saturday and then shifted to equally ominous gales from the southwest by mid-afternoon.

The cancellations Saturday left tens of thousands of visitors scrambling to find other entertainment. Despite predictions that rains would reach Noachian levels, hardly a drop fell on most areas of the province. The only precipitation to fall in Kings and Queens countries came from thundershowers Friday night. West Prince did get some rain from Arthur but nothing like central areas of New Brunswick where more than 140 mms of rainfall was recorded. Can you imagine the level of misery and destruction had monsoon rains hit here along with those winds?

Let’s hope we’ve had our one and only encounter with tropical storms or hurricanes for 2014.


Staying in the saddle


Country music fans are a diehard group. They will endure severe trials and tribulations to hear their favourite artist, singers and musicians. How else do you explain the resilience of fans despite a lashing from the remnants of hurricane Arthur at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival on Saturday?

The tenacity of fans who turned out in near record numbers Sunday says a lot for the popularity of the festival, the incredible music stars it attracts and the dedication of country fans.

Friday and Sunday were ideal days for the festival, sandwiched around an apocalyptic Saturday. Less dedicated fans might have fled the province Saturday after Arthur roared into the area. But an estimated 25,000 fans were there Sunday when headliner Hunter Hayes performed an electrifying two-hour set. Stars couldn’t land at the airport Saturday so let’s hope Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton and other missing stars will be the first groups signed to come back next year.

RCMP were impressed with the disappointed but law-abiding throngs which were stranded in the Cavendish area Saturday afternoon and night. Police went out of their way to applaud fans for their decorum when things easily might have gotten out of control.

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Brudenell, Kings New Brunswick

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Recent comments

  • don
    July 08, 2014 - 23:15

    janice you screwed up as minister of EMO. NS was so far ahead of are useless as a minister of anything. you have a good staff like cindy macdougall, barry folland. they have forgotten more about emergency's in 5 min then you will ever know if you lived to be a 1,000 years old. tell us sherry what are you going to do to protect islanders when we really get hit with a storm? tell us if you can with out help from anyone. i would love to test you to see how much you really know and the questions you would not know before hand i know you would fail. the day will come when we will get hit with a cat 3 hurricane or more and islanders think what we have had in juan and arther was bad. dear GOD please help us with these ministers we are all dead.islanders if you are hoping that janice the head of EMO will be helping you you are dead. help yourselves or ask NS EMO

    • huh
      July 10, 2014 - 19:17

      you give the minister way too much power. If her staff have so much experience and knowledge, why wasn't the EMO response more to your liking? IN most cases, the minister is following the advice/recommendations of her public service staff. Also, I would find it enlightening to know what NS EMO did that ours didn't, keeping in mind that the storm was worse in NS. Your logic is suppressed by your hatred.