Work crews fanned out across eastern Nova Scotia and southwestern Newfoundland Thursday to repair roads, bridges and culverts washed out by torrential rainfall that had hammered parts of the region for the past three days.
In Nova Scotia, almost 30 roads and bridges were closed by the time the rain stopped on Wednesday.
Most of the damage was reported in Antigonish County, in northeastern Nova Scotia, and in Victoria and Inverness counties in northern Cape Breton.
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said Thursday that damage from the storm is significant. “It’s probably at least $7 million, so it will trigger federal programming,” Houston told reporters. “There’s a lot of work to be done to rebuild, repair, restore.”
Some communities along Cape Breton’s northeastern shore were inundated by more than 200 millimetres of rain, and several washouts forced the closure of the scenic Cabot Trail at the top of the island.
In Ingonish River, N.S., on the east side of the Cabot Trail, flooding and washouts were reported amid heavy downpours that dumped 278 mm of rain on the tiny community.
“This week’s storm has hit our province, our people and our transportation infrastructure hard,” Nova Scotia’s acting public works minister, Allan MacMaster, said in a statement. “Our first priority is making sure people are safe, so please check in with your neighbours, especially seniors.”
MacMaster asked residents in the affected areas to stay off the roads.
“I know Nova Scotians will do what they always do-come together, help their neighbours and get through this as a community,” he said.
In the Port aux Basques area of southwestern Newfoundland, repairs are underway on many roads, including the Trans-Canada Highway, and a helicopter was used Wednesday to rescue some trapped residents.
With the main highway to Port aux Basques closed, the ferry service that operates between the town and North Sydney, N.S., has been forced to alter its route.
Marine Atlantic announced Thursday that it would temporarily reroute the crossing to Argentia in eastern Newfoundland to ensure people and supplies can reach the province. That route is usually offered only in the summer months.
“Employees are working diligently to prepare the (Argentia) terminal to accept customers on this emergency basis,” Marine Atlantic said in a statement. The first sailing between North Sydney and Argentia was scheduled to depart late Thursday afternoon.
The storm, described as an elongated area of low pressure, had stalled over the region between Monday and Wednesday. Feeding on tropical moisture in the Caribbean, it dumped record amounts of rain on many communities, including Port aux Basques, where 165 mm accumulated over the past two days.
In the Codroy Valley north of Port aux Basques, one weather station recorded 195 mm of rain. As well, a gust in the Wreckhouse area reached 141 km/h.