MANTEO, N.C. — Businesses on two of North Carolina’s barrier islands hoped to salvage the rest of the holiday weekend after Arthur clipped the state without causing major damage before churning north toward Canada.
Arthur was downgraded to a tropical storm early Saturday, but its near-hurricane strength winds delivered a powerful hit to Canada’s maritime provinces after brushing past the precariously exposed Outer Banks on the Fourth of July, causing far less damage than feared.
Nova Scotia Power said 113,000 of its customers were without power late Saturday morning, while the utility in New Brunswick reports 86,000 outages. The storm has caused flight cancellations and delays at the region’s largest airport in Halifax. Strong winds and heavy rain were expected to continue through Saturday night, the National Hurricane Center said.
The storm was about 95 miles west-northwest of Halifax. Environment Canada measured wind gusts there topping 72 mph.
Like North Carolina, New England was also largely spared damage spawned by the storm, but some 19,000 people in Maine and 1,600 in Vermont were without power after high winds and heavy rains pounded the region. There were reports of localized flooding in coastal areas of Massachusetts and the Nova Star Ferry suspended service Friday and Saturday morning because of dangerous seas. No injuries or deaths have been reported.
In North Carolina, some homes and businesses were flooded, trees toppled and initially thousands were without electricity after Arthur raced through the barrier islands Friday. Independence Day fireworks were postponed. About 20 feet of the fragile road connecting Hatteras Island with the rest of the world buckled and required repairs. The road was being reopened Saturday in stages.
Permanent residents of Hatteras Island began returning Saturday. Employees of businesses that need to get ready to accommodate arriving tourists were also being allowed onto the island that had been closed to arrivals since early Thursday. Officials also tested the two-mile-long Bonner Bridge onto the island to ensure it was safe for traffic. The bridge opened at noon to local Hatteras residents and essential workers.