Image: Scene on Nova Scotia highway
Paul Darrow  /  Reuters
A vehicle navigates around a downed tree on highway 103 near Shelburne, Nova Scotia, on Saturday as the storm arrives.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 9/5/2010 12:39:18 AM ET 2010-09-05T04:39:18

After disrupting Labor Day weekend plans for tens of millions of East Coastal residents and tourists, Earl finally made a blustery landfall Saturday morning in Canada's Nova Scotia province, where one man died.

The storm, downgraded overnight from hurricane to tropical storm, again packed hurricane-speed winds when it made landfall, and then weakened once more before heading out to the frigid Atlantic.

Winds gusting to 80 mph downed trees, flooded roads and left 200,000 customers without power. The province has a population of about 940,000.

"We are still classifying this storm as a hurricane, based on the overnight presentation of the storm on satellite and radar," said Chris Fogarty, program supervisor at Canadian Hurricane Center said at the time. "The eye is still very much intact."

However, by 11 p.m. ET, Earl's center was 660 miles northeast of Halifax, or 180 miles southwest of Mary's Harbor, Labrador. It still packed sustained winds of 65 mph. Earl was moving northeast at 46 mph. A tropical storm watch was still in effect for Newfoundland, but Earl was expected to weaken further Sunday and Monday. 

Earl was a mere shadow of the massive Category 4 hurricane that frightened the U.S. East Coast earlier in the week.

Earl had delivered heavy rain and gusty winds to parts of New England en route to Canada, but the storm stayed mostly offshore and caused far less damage than feared on its path up the U.S. coast from North Carolina.

Earl hit Western Head, Nova Scotia. It was blamed for the death of a man who drowned while trying to secure his boat after it became loose from its mooring off a bay near Halifax.

Halifax Regional Police to CBC that two men made their way at about 2 p.m. AT Saturday to a boat that had slipped its moorings at Blind Bay. Once the vessel was reattached, one of the men dived into the water to swim back to land but remained under the surface.

Police identified the man as 54-year-old Johnny Mitchell Jr. from Bayside, Nova Scotia, CBC said.

The storm brought heavy sheets of rain and swift gusts, toppling some trees and knocking out power to more than 200,000 customers in Nova Scotia. There were numerous flight and ferry cancellations. Police said the road to the popular Peggy's Cove tourist site near Halifax was closed to keep curious storm-watchers away from the dangerous, pounding surf.

The United States had got off relatively lightly from the storm, raising hopes that the Northeast would suffer only limited losses during the three-day Labor Day holiday weekend, traditionally viewed as the final surge of summer tourist dollars for airlines and other businesses.

"This traditionally for us is a sellout weekend," said Voula Nikolakopoulos, one of the owners of Tidewater Inn in West Yarmouth, on Cape Cod, where business was down 80 percent. "I understand that we have to be careful, but I think all this hype was premature."

Massachusetts suffered a few hundred power outages, a handful of downed power lines and isolated flooding. Maine saw rain and churning surf but no gusts strong enough to produce damage.

Earl had swooped into New England waters Friday night as a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph after sideswiping North Carolina's Outer Banks, where it caused flooding but no injuries and little damage. The rain it brought to Cape Cod, Nantucket Island and Martha's Vineyard was more typical of the nor'easters that residents have been dealing with for generations.

Winds on Nantucket blew at around 30 mph, with gusts above 40 mph. The island got more than 2 inches of rain, while adjacent Martha's Vineyard got more than 4 inches. Hyannis, home to the Kennedy family compound, got about 4.5 inches.

Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said the damage was so minimal that the agency didn't send out assessment teams as planned Saturday.

"There's nothing to assess at this point," he said. "It wasn't even a really bad rainstorm."

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Gov. Deval Patrick walked around Chatham on Saturday morning, proclaiming, "The sun is out and the Cape is open for business."

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Officials warned that rip currents would continue to be a concern Saturday and Sunday. With offshore seas up to 20 feet, beaches would continue to see big waves that could knock people off jetties or piers.

In central New Jersey, a body found by fishermen in an inlet Saturday was identified as that of a swimmer who went missing Thursday in rough ocean surf spawned by Earl, police said. The medical examiner's office hadn't determined the cause of death for the man, Pardip Singh, who had gone swimming with friends at Belmar, about a half-mile from where his body was recovered.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Hurricane Earl sideswipes Northeast

  1. Closed captioning of: Hurricane Earl sideswipes Northeast

    >>> while earl continues to lose steam, it is it is leaving behind some dangerous conditions at the beach this holiday weekend. the weather channel 's mike seidel is on the tip of the island .

    >> reporter: the sun is out but the memory lingers. this is the do you know line. just two days ago go, it was up here. so the beach is being rearranged and now the do you know is left strong and will be more prevalent damage in the next storm. let me take you back to yesterday. we had ten foot waves pounding the beaches and, again, the beach erosion the real impact here. and because of this, the beaches were closed from here down to the outer banks of north carolina , not only because of the surf, but because of dangerous rip currents . in new jersey, a man went this swimming thursday and yet to be found. they called off the search because of earl. that's the second drowning in a week and the fourth fatality since last weekend because of rip currents . so they closed the beaches yesterday.

    >> h the beaches be open today, will it be safe to go in the water with those big waves out there?

    >> reporter: you can be sure they'll get the beaches open for labor day weekend . the concern is swimming and many communities and lifeguards and city managers will meet this morning to make that decision on how far swimmers can go in because the rip current threat is still up. take a look at the forecast from the outer banks up to new england, as earl departs, it will take a while for these waveses to subside and, thus, they may keep swimmers to their news or ankles. things will get better tomorrow, but one group that has loved this swell, the life guards . they have flocked out in droves to the beaches over the past couple days. and i heard one lifeguard say this is the best surf they've seenfers enjoying the waves. it brings them on the beaches very quickly. back to you.

Photos: Hurricane Earl

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  1. A city worker pulls back after cutting a section of a downed tree in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Saturday, Sept. 4. after Tropical Storm Earl had moved through the province. (Paul Darrow / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Waves from hurricane Earl pound the coast at Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia, on Sept. 4. Police closed roads leading to the iconic lighthouse as a safety precaution, keeping the curious away from the dangerous rocks. Heavy rain, high winds and surf battered the region. (Andrew Vaughan / The Canadian Press via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. From left in the canoe, Lexi Olson, 12, Petunia the pug, Corey Olsen, 9, and Amber Racette, 13, and in the water, Bennett Hartley, 7, and sister Ella, all of Brewster, Mass., enjoy what the neighborhood jokingly calls "Lake Leona" after Leona Terrace was flooded by Tropical Storm Earl in Brewster, Mass., on Cape Cod, Sept. 4. According to residents, the road frequently floods during major storms, but this is the highest they've seen it. (Julia Cumes / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Traffic backs up on the Bonner Bridge near Nags Head, N.C., on Sept. 4, as people return to Hatteras Island following mandatory evacuations of the barrier island for Hurricane Earl. (Gerry Broome / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Local resident Russell Lowe kayaks along a beach road during Hurricane Earl in Nags Head, North Carolina Friday, Sept. 3. (Richard Clement / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A metal roof is seen on the ground after winds from Hurricane Earl passed through overnight in Nags Head, N.C., Friday. (Gerry Broome / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Utilities workers try to support power lines that were blown sideways from winds produced by Hurricane Earl in Nags Head, N.C., Friday. (Gerry Broome / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. People including Ben Sharp, second from left, of Lewes, Del., watch weather from Hurricane Earl start to move into Rehoboth Beach, Del. on Friday. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. R.V. Hodge removes sandbags from a storefront in Beaufort, N.C., as residents return to business as usual after Hurricane Earl brushed past the North Carolina coast Friday. (Chuck Burton / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A man uses an umbrella while riding his bike as Hurricane Earl churns up the coast in Virginia Beach, Va., on Friday, Sept. 3. (Evan Vucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. The surf pounds the Oceana Pier as Hurricane Earl heads toward the eastern coast in Atlantic Beach, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 2. (Chuck Burton / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. A photo of Hurricane Earl's eye taken from the HDVis camera on the underside of NASA's unmanned Global Hawk aircraft. Global Hawk captured this photo from an altitude of 60,000 ft. on Thursday morning. The Global Hawk is one of three aircraft involved in the Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) experiment to better understand how tropical storms form and develop into major hurricanes. (NOAA / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Town workers, from right, Jose Pineda, Travis Thompson, and Cager Jones, install barriers on the boardwalk as the storm heads toward the eastern coast in Atlantic Beach, N.C., Thursday. (Chuck Burton / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. This Thursday image shows Hurricane Earl closing in on a large part of the Eastern Seabord on Thursday. The strongest Atlantic storm of 2010 is on course to hit the coast of North Carolina and then move north. (NOAA via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Vehicles sit in traffic on the Croatan Highway near Southern Shores, N.C. as people evacuate the Outer Banks area on Thursday. Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation notice as forecasters expect Earl to pass through the area late Thursday night, into Friday morning. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Tina McGory of Columbia, S.C. loads up her car Thursday to leave her rented Kitty Hawk, N.C. beach house early due to the approaching storm. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. In Kitty Hawk Thursday, this front end loader dumps sand on the beach to help prevent inland flooding. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. A surfer enjoys the increasing size of the waves as Hurricane Earl approaches the Outer Banks city of Kill Devil Hills, N.C. on Wednesday. The hurricane is expected to work its way up the Eastern seaboard. (Paul J. Richards / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. A sign that reads "Go away Earl" outside a hotel is seen as the sun sets in Buxton on Wednesday. (Chuck Liddy / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Residents boarded up beach homes, like these in Hatteras, all along the Outer Banks on Wednesday. (Gerry Broome / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. A boat is battered by waves in Sopers Hole during the passage of Hurricane Earl near Tortola, British Virgin Islands on Monday, Aug. 30. The hurricane was expected to remain over the open ocean before turning north and running parallel to the U.S. coast, potentially reaching the North Carolina coastal region by late Thursday or early Friday. (Todd Vansickle / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Astronaut Douglas Wheelock photographed Hurricane Earl aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday. Wheelock has been posting photos of the season's Atlantic storms on Twitter. (Douglas H. Wheelcock / NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Luis Colon uses an umbrella to shield himself from rain and wind caused by the approaching Hurricane Earl in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Monday. The storm battered some islands across the northeastern Caribbean with heavy rain and roof-ripping winds Monday. (Andres Leighton / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Meteorologist Jessica Schauer works on tracking Hurricane Earl at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla. on Monday. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. A boy takes cover from a wave caused by the approaching storm in Fajardo, Puerto Rico on Monday. (Ricardo Arduengo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Heavy rains caused a nearby river to overflow, flooding this house in Potters Village, on the outskirts of St. John's, Antigua on Monday. (Johnny Jno-baptiste / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Army soldiers help to remove a fallen tree at the village of Liberta Monday after Hurricane Earl passed near Antigua. (Johnny Jno-baptiste / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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