By John Morris
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) - Canada's government authorised hundreds of troops on Sunday to help clear trees after Storm Dorian tore through the Atlantic coast overnight, leaving almost half a million people in three provinces without power.
Dorian, classified as a strong post-tropical storm, hit Nova Scotia hard, leaving more than 370,000 people - a third of the population - without power. About 100,000 others in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island also had no electricity.
Though no longer a hurricane, the storm is still packing cyclone-strength winds reaching about 130 kph (81 mph), the Canadian Hurricane Centre said.
"Dorian will slowly weaken as it moves northeastward across northern Newfoundland later today and east of Labrador tonight," the centre said overnight.
The defense ministry said it would send up to 700 troops to help in the clean-up, and Nova Scotians have been asked to stay off the roads so that crews can safely remove trees and debris to restore power.
"There is extensive damage," Karen Hutt, chief executive office of Nova Scotia Power Inc, said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. "This storm was intense" and it will be "days not hours" before power is restored to everyone.
The storm blew over a large construction crane in downtown Halifax, the capital of the province of Nova Scotia, on Saturday. No serious injuries have been reported.
Dorian ripped into the Bahamas a week ago with Category 5 winds and some gusts topping 320 kph (200 mph), leaving a trail of destruction and death, with 43 confirmed dead and the number expected to rise.
(Writing by Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Howard Goller)