Prince Edward Islanders are tallying up the damage following record-breaking cold temperatures and high winds over the weekend.
Temperatures fell well below –20 C across the province Saturday morning. With wind gusts over 70 km/h, the wind chill made it feel as cold as well below –40.
Visitor restrictions are in place at Colville Manor in Souris after a pipe in the sprinkler system burst, and there was flooding in the entranceway, lobby area and some offices.
Andrew MacDougall is the executive director of community health and seniors care with Health P.E.I.
He said there was a fast response from the local fire department and staff, so damage appears to have been contained, though an assessment is underway.
Fire and electrical safety officials are making sure all the systems are working well, MacDougall said.
He adds that restricting visitors is not something that’s done lightly.
“Family and community is essential for residents and their well-being. We just want to make sure our systems are all good to go, we’re going to resume that as quickly as possible … residents are doing fine, staff are doing fine. There’s been no injuries,” he said.
Weather closes law courts
The Sir Louis Henry Davies Law Courts on Water Street in Charlottetown was closed Monday due to damage caused by the weather, and will remain closed until Tuesday at noon with a further announcement Tuesday morning once overnight inspections are complete, the province said in a news release.
Parties involved in scheduled proceedings will be contacted directly about alternative arrangements, the release said.
Many businesses were also damaged when pipes froze and burst.
Nazly Farhady from Nick’s Bakery said they were lucky to still have some running water today in the kitchen, after some of their pipes burst.
She was surprised by the damage, since they have heat pumps, a furnace and electric heating.
“I didn’t expect something to happen here. I told my son, ‘Just go to the store and make sure everything’s okay,’ but I didn’t expect that,” she said.
Jeff Wilson owns Infinite Expressions Tattoo Studio.
Water was still dripping and pooling on the floor a day after a water pipe break above the business. Wilson said they will be closed until they can finish cleaning up the mess.
As for the cold temperatures, “hopefully we don’t get it again, and don’t get it too often,” he said.
Phones constantly ringing
Plumbers were also busy across the Island.
Devan Riley from Riley’s Plumbing and Heating said he doesn’t even know how many calls the company got. He said they put in 15-hour days, and the phone was ringing constantly.
He said the biggest problem he found is that people often don’t know what to do when their pipes freeze.
“A lot of people don’t know how to shut off the water to their property. So usually you have to try to explain to them where to shut it off. If you get there quick enough, the damage might not be as extensive,” he said.
Riley said in a city or town, the off switch is usually near the water meter. For people who live in more rural areas, he tells them to look for a big blue tank, because the on/off valve is near that.
“You walk into houses … people are freaking out, and they haven’t had water, then they got water, then they had to shut it off again,” said Riley. “We just try to do our best to calm them down and get their issues solved.”
Riley said for people worried about pipes freezing, leaving a tap running usually works.