ANTIGONISH: Provincial officials have issued warnings for people in parts of Inverness County to stay off local roads, and Canada Post has temporarily stopped mail delivery, after heavy rainfall led to flooding last night.
Yesterday, Environment Canada issued a weather warning for eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, calling for up 150 millimetres (mm) of rain in some areas; warning that heavy downpours could cause flash floods, water pooling on roads, and flooding in low-lying areas.
“We’re almost in triage now, we’re dealing with the highest priorities first, we have people that are actually isolated because it’s a dead-end road, and the road is washed out, so we’re trying to get to those people first,” Jamie Chisholm, Director of the Eastern District for the Department of Public Works said.
Chisholm estimated that on Nov. 23, between 200 and 150 mm of rain fell in an area extending from northern Cape Breton, to Guysborough and Antigonish counties.
“It hit in Antigonish yesterday in the day time so we were able to get a good handle on what happened, but as the stormed moved up through the island, it was after dark so I suspect today we’re going to find out a lot more, especially when the water subsides. Even some of the regular culverts, when the water goes down, we’ll probably see that some of them are compromised,” Chisholm told The Reporter today (Nov. 24). “It was a very slow-moving low pressure system. The peak was in Antigonish, but multiple hours later, it was in Victoria County. Usually they move a lot quicker than that. This just seemed to hang over us.”
Canada Post issued a red delivery service alert for Antigonish, Inverness, and Victoria counties, noting that flooding has made it unsafe for its employees.
“A red service alert means that we are suspending delivery and not sending out our delivery agents. Delivery will resume once conditions improve and it’s safe to do so,” Canada Post said in an email.
Customers can track items and check their shipping status at: canadapost.ca or using the mobile app, Canada Post explained, noting that customers can visit its delivery service alerts webpage for active and archived alerts and updates.
As of this afternoon, public works said the following roads and bridges in Antigonish County remain closed: Cloverville Road to Walsh Road; Old Maryvale Road; Mill Road; Old Beaver Road, Beaver Meadow; North Lakevale Road; and School Road in Brierly Brook.
With a state of emergency called in Victoria County, the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office asked residents of Inverness and Victoria counties to avoid traveling on roads they considered “no longer safe,” noting that, along with a few bridges, “several roads were washed away or suffered extensive damage.”
According to public works, in Inverness County, the public was asked to use extreme caution along Route 252 in Smithville; East Margaree Cross Road is closed due to flooding and there is no detour in place; East Big Intervale Road at Harts Bridge is clsoed; and the Orangedale Iona Road is closed to all through traffic from the McIvor Road to the Portage Road.
After a large section of Route 245 in Maryvale, Antigonish County was completely washed away yesterday (Nov. 23), public works closed the road, and noted that the bridge is also out.
“The plan will be to, as soon as the water level dissipates enough, we’ll be working to fill that back in and get the road open,” Chisholm stated.
In Guysborough County, public works said because of damage to the Stormont Bridge, Route 316 is closed from Country Harbour Cross Road to Isaacs Harbour, and there is a detour from Melrose Country Harbour Road to Trunk 7, south to Route 211, and from Route 211 back to Route 316.
“I think they’re going to have to be patient over the next few days,” Chisholm added. “We’re going to try to find means to get around, but these bridges, they’re not going to be replaced within months. We’re going try to find detours around, but even some of the other repairs, we could be into weeks before things are back to normal again.”