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Floods receding in the Maritimes

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

November 11, 2010 — The rain is gone, but flooding is still an issue in parts of southern Nova Scotia.

Flood waters rush through Carleton, NS
Flood waters rush through Carleton, NS

Water levels are beginning to recede in the rain-soaked Maritimes, but officials say the flood situation isn't over just yet.

Last Thursday night, a storm moved into Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, bringing torrential rain to some regions for days. The Fundy shores were hit the hardest, with more than 220 mm falling in Yarmouth, and about 180 mm soaking Saint John. More than 340 millimetres of rain fell in Mechanic Settlement, breaking a local rainfall record.

The heavy rain has led to major flooding in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. A state of emergency was issued for parts of Nova Scotia, including parts of Yarmouth, Barrington and Argyle. Streets have been left looking like rivers, and fields are looking more like lakes. In some cases, people have had no choice but to get around by boat.

On Tuesday, the flood waters were so strong that they caused yet another bridge to collapse in Yarmouth county. The truss bridge in Tusket gave way in the late evening hours.

The Premier of Nova Scotia, Darrell Dexter took to the skies on Wednesday for a first hand look at the significant damage. Dexter says that he will be seeking federal help for reconstruction and repair. He estimates that it will cost millions of dollars to get the province back up and running. Right now, replacing the Tusket River bridge is the main priority and engineers may need to erect a temporary bridge for the time being.

Flood damage in Elgin, NB
Flood damage in Elgin, NB

Another priority is getting the evacuated families home. Around 130 families were evacuated due to rising water levels, but most have returned home.

In Dieppe, New Brunswick, entire streets were washed away. City workers say they haven't seen flood damage of this magnitude in years.

'It was tough,' said David Knowles of Public Works Dieppe. 'We had a lot of flood drainage issues with leaves and plugged drains and stuff but this was the worst one we had in some time.'

Knowles is reminding Maritimers not to drive through pools of water on the road.

'You don't know what's under there. There may be asphalt but there may be nothing solid under it and it could cave in. Turn around and go back where you came from,' he says.

This powerful storm began affecting the Maritimes last Thursday. By the start of the weekend, thousands of people had lost electricity and air travel had been disrupted.

The Maritime provinces are used to getting hit with heavy rain and gusty winds in November - but not on this scale. Some are even comparing the damage to that of a hurricane.

Already, some cities in the Maritimes are well on their way to breaking all time rainfall records for the month of November. Moncton's current record is 167 mm of rain, and the city has had 142 mm so far this month.

With files from Lisa Varano, Jill Colton and Andrea Stockton

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