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Tropical storm Arthur hits eastern Canada, causes outages

    Waves crash against rock embankments that protect the Escuminac road against erosion during Tropical storm Arthur in Escuminac, New Brunswick, Saturday, July 5, 2014.

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia >> Arthur hit Canada’s Maritime provinces Saturday with near-hurricane strength winds and torrential rains, knocking down trees and leaving more than 200,000 customers without power.

Canadian Hurricane Centre spokesman Chris Fogarty said that winds were easing, but more rainfall is predicted for already drenched southwestern New Brunswick.

Arthur was downgraded from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm Saturday morning by the time it reached Atlantic Canada after swiping a day earlier at North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but it still packed a punch.

Environment Canada measured wind gusts topping 72 mph in Halifax, while more than 4 inches of rain had already fallen on parts of southwestern New Brunswick.

At 3 p.m. ADT (8 a.m. in Hawaii) Saturday, Arthur was 28 miles southwest of Moncton, New Brunswick, with maximum sustained winds of 62 mph, the Canadian Hurricane Centre said.

Late Saturday morning, Nova Scotia Power said 113,000 of its customers were without power. The utility in New Brunswick reported almost 100,000 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. 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.

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