A rare combination of flooding and freezing in northern mainland Nova Scotia has left at least 20 vehicles trapped and partially submerged in the ice.

Within a roughly 45-minute span on Friday evening, rainwater in parts of downtown Antigonish rose up to the hoods of parked cars in the area, then quickly froze over.

“It just came in like a freight train--all this water out of nowhere,” Pete Norman, whose truck was submerged up to the hood, told CTV Atlantic. “I put boots on as fast as I could to try to get out, but it was already too late.”

Town officials said at least two businesses had flooded basements, but nobody lost power.

Some are calling it the worst flooding the town has seen in 40 years. Felipe Gougeon, an owner of one the trapped vehicles, said the scene was unusual and damaging, but not dangerous.

“It was a lot of water and slush and ice,” he said. “The ice (was) all floating around. People were okay, not a lot of people were here.”

Gougeon was able to get his car out of the ice and says while it needs repairs, the car is still drivable. Many others have to wait for a thaw before assessing the damage to their own cars.

Antigonish town staff plan to evaluate the scene on Monday to determine what liability, if any, the town has in the matter.

With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw