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Assessing the damage in the Maritimes


Flood waters are easing in parts of Atlantic Canada, but damage is widespread. Click the image for a closer look at this storm.
Flood waters are easing in parts of Atlantic Canada, but damage is widespread. Click the image for a closer look at this storm.

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

December 24, 2010 — Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says the federal government will offer financial help to repair the damage from three December storms in Atlantic Canada.

Peak winds recorded on Tuesday
Peak winds recorded on Tuesday

For the third week in a row, people in Atlantic Canada are trying to cope with the remnants of a powerful storm - one that brought damaging winds, dangerous surf and coastal flooding to the provinces.

In many places, the clean-up is now underway. However, the combination of these 3 consecutive storms in New Brunswick could top $50 million, making it costliest damage in the province's history. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews issued a statement on Friday saying the federal government will offer financial help to repair the damage.

The storm surge from the current system, coupled with the astronomical high tides from Tuesday morning's lunar eclipse added to the large tidal distortion. Officials say the alignment of the Earth, moon and sun and the pull from each object is what helped to enhance the size of the tides.

“So we were looking at the astronomical high tide and because of weather elements we saw additional swelling of water levels,” says Claude Cote, with Environment Canada.

While water levels have receded significantly, strong winds continue to whip through the region. Damage assessments and clean-up efforts are underway.

On Wednesday, New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization said there were over 160 reports of property damage. Around 100 residents were forced to leave their homes when flooding brought water levels to dangerous heights Tuesday.

Damage to a home in Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Damage to a home in Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Coastal roads from Shediac to Miramichi were closed due to the water damage. The storm surge also left the wharfs in Shediac, Richibucto, Pointe du Chene and Bouctouche under water.

Roads were closed across Cape Breton as well as police reported conditions to be impassable. Several detours have been set up across the region to help drivers deal with the flooding.

Marine Atlantic has resumed partial service between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland after sailings were completely cancelled for the past couple of days. Officials say despite the complications it would cause over the holidays, the safety of travellers and crew members is always the top priority.

For some residents, this onset of stormy weather was the last thing they needed. A powerful storm walloped the Maritimes just last week causing widespread flooding across the region. St. Stephen, New Brunswick was one of the hardest hit areas after close to 200 mm of rain drenched the community.

“A lot of areas are still dealing with recovery from the last storm that brought floods and wind damage,” says Danya Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. “This is a busy time for holiday preparations and there's no doubt that this storm will cause a mess on the roads because of the wind, rain and snow.”

For the latest on this storm, tune in to The Weather Network on TV or check out the watches and warnings online.

With files from Lyndsay Morrison

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