Flooding prompts state of emergency, road closures across eastern N.S. | CBC News

The province’s emergency management office declared a state of emergency for Inverness and Victoria counties after heavy rainfall washed out roads.

Many roads are flooded and impassable in Nova Scotia’s northeastern counties and across Cape Breton Island. 

Nova Scotia’s Emergency Management Office is asking people in Inverness and Victoria counties to stay off the roads. 

Lyle Donovan, EMO co-ordinator in Victoria County, said more than a dozen roads are washed out and a man was injured when his car got stuck on one of the damaged roads.

“People were travelling around, everybody was curious, wanting to see the damage out there. But as we discovered that roads were being undermined and washouts were happening — and they happened, actually, as somebody was driving over them last night and his truck went into a washout area,” he said.

Wash Brook overflowed its banks on Brookland Street in Sydney in this photo taken Wednesday morning. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Greg Weir from Victoria County Water Utility said Neils Harbour is under a boil water advisory. Staff are working on it but are having trouble getting around because of road closures.

People in Ingonish are reporting they are essentially cut off because the only roads leading into and out of the community are impassable. The flooding there has cut off some from being able to reach the hospital in the case of an emergency. 

A ditch overflows onto the road Tuesday in the Cape Breton Highlands. (Sarah Barrington)

Rainfall and wind gusts

According to preliminary rainfall totals gathered by Environment Canada at 8 p.m. Tuesday, some areas of Cape Breton were hit with more than 100 millimetres. Ingonish Beach recorded 211 millimetres.

Sydney received 150 millimetres, which is short of the 225 mm recorded during the Thanksgiving Day flood in October 2016. That rain event flooded Sydney’s Ashby neighbourhood and wiped out about 20 homes.

Part of Townsend Street in Sydney, N.S., was closed due to flooding Tuesday night. (Katie Chartrand-Hodder)

Collegeville reported 102 millimetres as of 8 p.m. Tuesday, and Port Hawkesbury received 101 millimetres.

Maximum wind gusts hit 140 km/hr on the Skyline Trail and 134 km/hr in St. Joseph du Moine.

Parks Canada has closed the section of the Cabot Trail from Neils Harbour to Ingonish in Cape Breton Highlands National Park because of flooding.

Officials say they will assess the damage at daybreak.

Ducks swimming on St. Peters Road in Sydney, where Wash Brook has overflowed its banks. It’s the same Ashby neighbourhood that flooded Thanksgiving Day 2016, where about 20 homes were completely lost. Wednesday morning, streets were flooded and closed from Cabot Street to Townsend Street because of Wash Brook. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Antigonish flooding

In Antigonish, public works staff are assessing damage to Route 245 and flooding at the MacDonald Trailer Park off Maclellan Street. Thirty-three people escaped by boat when the park flooded on Tuesday.

William Cormier, deputy mayor for the Town of Antigonish, said high tide at 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon during heavy rain combined with a full moon reduced the flow of the three bodies of water that run into Antigonish Harbour: West River, Wrights River and Brierly Brook.  

The Town of Antigonish, N.S., posted this photo of flooding on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (Town of Antigonish/Facebook)

“The tide started pushing back and reducing the flow so the water had to go somewhere and that’s where we had our backup,” Cormier told the CBC’s Information Morning.

“So the rain combined with the high tide, full moon, reduced the flow and then those rivers just backed up into the town.”

Antigonish Coun. Sean Cameron estimated the water to be as deep 1.67 metres or nearly 5.5 feet in some places.

Cormier said he’s thankful to all the volunteers who helped evacuate the trailer park.

“You know it’s a tough thing to see, but you really see people when they come together it kind of brings kind of a tear to your eye how good people are,” he said.

Below is dramatic video of a washout on Highway 245 Tuesday, north of Maryvale and Antigonish.

Power outages persist Wednesday morning with about 4,500 customers left without service, mainly in Cape Breton. Some of the larger outages included the area around Linwood, Gabarus, Kempt Head to Big Bank and Christmas Island to Barachois Provincial Park.

Marine Atlantic has cancelled all of today’s crossings between Cape Breton and Newfoundland.

A large tree fell on power lines on Nepean Street in Sydney’s North End neighbourhood Wednesday morning. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

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