UPDATE 5-Earl sweeps through Maritime Canada, fizzles

* Earl weakens to tropical storm after hitting Canada

* Nova Scotia reports power outages, flooded roads

* Earl was once Category 4 hurricane, but faded
(Updates with one dead, other local details)

By Pav Jordan

HALIFAX, Canada, Sept 4 (BestGrowthStock) – Hurricane Earl made
landfall in Canada on Saturday and fizzled after a series of
scares along the U.S. East Coast, flooding roads, felling trees
and cutting power to tens of thousands in the Atlantic province
of Nova Scotia.

One man died in the Halifax region after he swam into rough
waters to secure a boat that had come loose from its mooring.
He drowned while attempting to swim back to shore.

But the storm, downgraded successively from a fierce
Category 4 hurricane, never packed the punch that had been
feared earlier in the week, when experts warned of possible
widespread damage in a region that includes some 1.1 million
barrels per day of U.S. oil refining capacity.

“We dodged a bullet here,” Scott MacLeod, a spokesman for
the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said of Earl’s
charge past Massachusetts as a tropical storm. “Other than some
minor road closures due to localized flooding, we’re not
getting a lot of reports of major damage.”

The storm was again a hurricane, but barely, when it
reached Canada. It quickly weakened again to a tropical storm,
with wind speeds under 74 mph (119 kph), half of the wind speed
of a violent Category 4 hurricane.

The storm, with initial gusts of 80 mph (130 kph), cut
power to 200,000 homes and business across the province of some
940,000. The Nova Scotia power authority said it could be two
days before full power is restored.

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For full coverage of Earl [ID:nN2005]

For an Earl graphic http://link.reuters.com/qeq29n

For factbox on energy installations [ID:nN04160544]

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As a large Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson
scale, Earl had been the largest hurricane to threaten the
densely populated U.S. Atlantic shoreline since Hurricane Bob
in 1991.

It delivered heavy rain and gusty winds to parts of the
eastern United States 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. It hit land in Nova
Scotia, on the Atlantic coast.

In the provincial capital Halifax, powerful winds churned
up the harbor and tossed litter through downtown streets as
blacked-out traffic lights swayed alarmingly. It was hard to
stand against the swirling, gusting wind.

Earl deposited about an inch (2.5 cm) of rain per hour as
it crossed Nova Scotia and moved into the neighboring maritime
provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Imperial Oil Ltd (IMO.TO: ) closed its 82,000 barrel a day
Dartmouth refinery before the storm struck.

The refinery is one of three in Eastern Canada, and the
closest one to the center of the storm.

EnCana Corp (ECA.TO: ) evacuated staff from its Deep Panuke
prospect off the Nova Scotia coast after suspending drilling
late on Monday. The company said it would know later on
Saturday when they could return.

LIMITED LOSSES

The relatively light impact in the United States raised
hopes that the Northeast will suffer only limited losses during
the three-day Labor Day weekend, traditionally viewed as the
final surge of summer tourist dollars for airlines and other
businesses.

Storm-related outages from North Carolina to Connecticut
knocked out power to about 3,300 customers, the U.S. Energy
Department said — a small number that showed the mild impact
of what had once shaped up to be a monster storm.

“I think right now the biggest thing we are dealing with in
terms of aftermath are downed trees and power lines,” said
Krista Higdon, a spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia Emergency
Management Office.

By late afternoon, the U.S. National Hurricane Center
described Earl as a tropical storm with maximum wind speeds of
70 mph (110 kph). It said Earl was located about 20 miles (45
km) west-northwest of the Magdalen Islands, Quebec, and was
moving north-northeast at a speed of 40 mph (65 kph).

(Additional reporting by Scott Malone, Gene Cherry, Ros
Krasny and Janet McGurty; writing by Janet Guttsman and Pav
Jordan, Editing by Eric Beech)

UPDATE 5-Earl sweeps through Maritime Canada, fizzles