Extent of damage at yacht club still unknown, says vice commodore

Maureen Coulter comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on July 6, 2014

Near hurricane strength winds snapped trees like twigs, caused electrical poles to catch fire and left a number of boats in heavy need of repair after post-tropical storm Arthur pummeled its way through Prince Edward Island this weekend.

Arthur worked its way acrosss the province Saturday, taking down many trees and power lines throughout the day with wind gusts in excess of 100 km/h.

Maritime Electric reported more than 20,000 people without power during the peak of the storm Saturday afternoon. The high winds also forced the cancellection of some events and caused many to keep a close eye on their valuables.

Charlottetown Yacht Club boat owners had a stressful evening Saturday as strong southwesterly winds thrashed their boats around in the water.

The boat owners were really at a loss, vice commodore Kerry Marsh told The Guardian in an interview on Saturday during the peak of the storm.

“They really can’t do anything. They are sitting back and it’s really too dangerous to even go out on one of the docks to tie a line down or anything like that,” said Marsh. “We brought in emergency measures now where we are keeping people off the docks and away from some of the boats.”

Mohamed Mahjoubi was one of those onlookers with his boat docked at the yacht club.

“Right now I can see my boat and I can’t do anything,” he said.

Boat owners and onlookers returned to the scene Sunday to assess the damage.

While Marsh said the extent of the damage is still unknown, one boat did sink, while other boats’ moorings and masts snapped off.

Some of the yacht club’s infrastructure, including the docks, was also damaged but is repairable, said Marsh.

“We are still assessing that but we are pretty optimistic.”

While the wind had died down overnight into Sunday, many felt the effects of the storm all weekend.

Maritime Electric responded to at least two electrical poles on fire because of the wind and reported more than 1,000 customers still without power as of Sunday evening.

That number was reduced to about 250 by 11 p.m. Sunday.

Kris Jackson, communications officer at Maritime Electric, said 19 crews were dispatched on Sunday in hopes of restoring power.

He said the most affected area by the tropical storm was the eastern part of the Island, particularly Scotchfort and Mount Stewart.

The effects of the storm were also noticeable in many yards and streets Sunday. Many in Charlottetown spent part of the day raking up broken branches and leaves.

Environment Canada reported Arthur as being a “near-hurricane-strength post-tropical storm” with peak wind gusts in Charlottetown at 105 km/h and Summerside at 98 km/h. The worst of the winds across the province died down a little after midnight.

The western end of the Island received the most amount of rain at 15 to 25 mm.

The high winds also caused the Cavendish Beach Music Festival to cancel all performances Saturday, while the 2014 Celebration Zone in Charlottetown was closed all weekend.