Image: A Kayaker Braves Large Waves As Hurricane Juan Approaches Halifax
Kayaker Mike Malley fights his way into the pounding surf created by Hurricane Juan at Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia, on Sunday.
updated 9/28/2003 6:55:15 PM ET 2003-09-28T22:55:15

Hurricane Juan struck Nova Scotia late Sunday, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people from low-lying areas, even as the storm was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane.

THE STORM brought 80 mph winds and torrential rains, uprooting trees and knocking out power to significant areas of Halifax, the largest city on Canada’s east coast.

Downed tree limbs cartwheeled through city streets as massive oak trees were knocked over in a downtown park. Several cars were damaged.

Blackouts were reported throughout the city as rising water levels lapped at the pavement surrounding the Halifax harbor front.

“We think it’s pretty serious,” said Peter Bowyer, program manager of the Canadian Hurricane Center in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

By early Sunday evening, Juan was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, which has winds ranging from 74 mph to 95 mph.

The swirling storm system, measuring about 175 miles wide, was moving north at near 32 mph.

WARNINGS ISSUED

Canadian officials issued hurricane wind warnings for Nova Scotia.

The evacuation, part of a local state of emergency, began around 8 p.m. EDT as winds picked up and rain started to fall.

The storm was expected to track from Halifax through central Nova Scotia, losing its hurricane strength by the time it reached Prince Edward Island.

A storm surge warning for waves over three feet was issued for the Halifax area and communities west of the city, including those along the picturesque south shore near Mahone Bay.

Meteorologists warned of coastal flooding, even in downtown Halifax, as the arrival of Juan was expected to coincide with high tide.

Margaret Murphy, spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Power, said crews were on standby to deal with any power outages.

The last hurricane to hit Nova Scotia was Gustav on Sept. 12, 2002. It caused little damage, though it dumped nearly 4 inches of rain and had wind speeds of over 75 mph.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Kate swirled in the Atlantic far from land, a day after forming. Its center was about 1,240 miles southwest of Lajes in the Azores Islands. At 11 p.m., Kate had maximum sustained winds near 60 mph and was moving north northeast near 12 mph.

Juan arrives a week after Hurricane Isabel hit the U.S. coast, killing 40 people from North Carolina to New Jersey and knocking out electrical service to 6 million customers as far north as New York. About 166,000 customers in the hardest-hit areas of Virginia and North Carolina remained without power Sunday, said Dominion Virginia Power, the area’s dominant utility.

The Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

© 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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