The worst not over yet in Maritime flooding
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Wednesday, December 15, 2010 7:16PM EST
Turbulent weather continued to plague the Maritimes on Wednesday, with flood damage ranging from along New Brunswick's swollen St. John River to Dingwall, Cape Breton.
In Cape Breton, the Margaree River overflowed its banks after an estimated 140 millilitres of rain in recent days, flooding many homes.
Heavy rain caused a mudslide, which closed a section of the Cabot Trail.
Eddie Phillips, a volunteer firefighter who has lived in the area for all his life, said flooding has never been worse.
"It is really bad and it is still raining," he told CTV Atlantic.
The community of Dingwall was cut off after the only road leading in was flooded.
"The water had risen so quickly, we didn't get a chance to get them out, but they were safe in their homes. We don't have access to them by vehicles. However we do have access by all-terrain vehicle," Lyle Donovan with the N.S. Emergency Measures Office said.
In New Brunswick, hundreds of people living along the St. John River are starting to mop up after water filled their basements and yards.
In Canal, N.B., residents were helped out of their flooded homes by neighbours in boats.
Rescuer Kory Leslie said the water was up to the windows in most of the houses.
N.B. Liberal MLA Rick Doucet said the Bonny River community should be declared a disaster area after it was cut off by high waters.
A temporary shelter has been set up in a local fire hall.
In St. George, N.B., a dam overflowed but officials say it is able to handle the load.
The river level began to drop in chilly Fredericton on Wednesday but homeowners can't breathe easy because additional flooding in low-lying areas is still possible.
It will take some time for floodwaters to recede. Streams might swell even further if the area receives any precipitation in the coming days, officials are warning.
Fredericton's Joey Lint is one of the unlucky property owners.
"It puts you into a position where you can't do too much about nothing," Lint said of his flooded home. "You've just got to wait until the water goes down, pump her out and hopefully get the furnace back running."
Like the wind and rain before it, freezing temperatures and Wednesday's snow flurries are now a concern in a rain-soaked region of New Brunswick.
There is good news, however. Environment Canada is forecasting dry weather for the rest of the week.
Water levels are expected to gradually drop if that forecast holds, said Karl Wilmot of New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization.
Wilmot told CTV's Canada AM that contingency plans are in place and officials are ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at them.
Environment Canada is forecasting additional rainfall amounts of 20 to 30 mm and powerful wind gusts for Sydney, N.S., and surrounding counties.
Marine Atlantic ferries are docked until Thursday at the earliest.
At its peak, the storm's fierce winds cut electricity to thousands, toppled trees on to homes, and tore the roofs off buildings overnight Monday.
Some residents in Nova Scotia's wind-swept Annapolis Valley compared the damage to the aftermath of a hurricane.
Massive amounts of rain – up to 175 mm – created a mess in New Brunswick between Fredericton and St. Stephen. Streams became raging currents, washing out roads and bridges.
The Trans-Canada Highway near Jemseg, N.B., is closed.
More precipitation could be disastrous in areas where rivers are already spilling their banks.
Wilmot said the top priority is making sure people whose homes are threatened by floodwaters have secured necessities if they choose to stay or a place to go if they decide to leave.
The Canadian Red Cross has set up a shelter to assist any evacuees.
Elsewhere Wednesday, wind and rainfall warnings are in effect in parts of southern Quebec, while wind warnings have been issued in a portion of southwestern Newfoundland.
With reports from CTV Atlantic