Canadian Forces to help Halifax with massive post-Dorian cleanup

After hurricane Dorian made landfall on Saturday, the storm’s heavy wind gusts and torrential rains wreaked havoc on the peninsula. Jesse Thomas has more.

Several hundred Canadian Forces personnel will be spread out across the Maritimes today to help restore electricity, clear roadways and evacuate residents in flooded areas following the wrath of Dorian.

The Canadian Armed Forces said in a news release Saturday night that Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale approved a request from the province for federal assistance to restore essential services and ensure public welfare in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

Up to 700 military personnel in Atlantic Canada are preparing to deploy throughout the day Sunday.

READ MORE: All public schools in Nova Scotia to be closed on Monday

Over 400,000 Nova Scotia Power customers across the province were off the grid at one point, as the ferocious storm slammed the region with wind gusts reaching nearly 150 kilometres an hour.

As of 7 p.m. AT Sunday, over 260,000 customers were off the grid.

Dorian made landfall as a post-tropical cyclone at 7:15 p.m. ADT southwest of Halifax, according to Environment Canada.

Thousands remain in the dark in the Halifax area, which was among the hardest hit. The storm uprooted trees, ripped off roofs, pulled down powerlines, and even caused a construction crane to collapse. There were no injuries.

WATCH: Restoring power after storm likely to take days following Hurricane Dorian

Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella is asking the public to refrain from taking photos of the damage in the area, as the crane is not yet fully secured.

WATCH: Video captures moment crane collapses in downtown Halifax during storm

At a Nova Scotia Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) press conference on Sunday evening, Nova Scotia Power CEO Karen Hutt said this is the largest restoration effort the company has ever encountered.

“We’re getting first eyes on damage, and there is a lot of work ahead of us,’ Hutt said. “At this time, we expect the full restoration effort to extend over the course of this week.” 

“We are safely working as quickly as we can with the largest mobilization of personnel in the history of Nova Scotia Power.”

READ MORE: Crews work to restore power after Hurricane Dorian slams Atlantic Canada

Hutt said since the peak of the storm, about 50,000 Nova Scotia Power customers have had their power restored. Additional teams from Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Florida and Maine have been called in to assist with restoration.

Some of the worst hit areas in the city include Preston Street in the south end, where uprooted trees destroyed several sections of sidewalk.

WATCH: Maritimes clean up after Dorian’s powerful punch

Another area facing significant damage is Kline Street, just off Quinpool Road. Several trees have fallen onto the street, downing power poles in the process.

WATCH: Storm blows through Nova Scotia downing trees and flooding roads

The Canadian Red Cross has opened three evacuation shelters in the Halifax region.

The Halifax Regional Municipality announced Sunday morning that Halifax Transit has suspended services for the remainder of the day. Transit was cancelled on Saturday at noon ahead of the storm’s arrival.

The HRM said an update on transit services for Monday will be provided later in the day.

READ MORE: Hundreds of thousands without power as Dorian hits Nova Scotia

In a social media post Sunday morning, the NSLC said they will be open their regular Sunday hours of 12-5 pm in areas that have power and where it is safe for our employees to get to work.

WATCH: ‘This is the day to stay home if you don’t have to be out’: Nova Scotia premier on Hurricane Dorian aftermath

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