N.S. residents prepare for more rain as they continue cleanup from last week's storm
The skies were grey once again over the Cabot Trail on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island. However, with more rain in the forecast, the fear of water levels rising is top of mind for many in the area.
“It is a worry for sure, having any more rain on top of what we already had,” says Barbara Longva, Victoria County councillor.
In the community of Tarbotvale, N.S., and on the Oregon Road, more than 12 people are still stranded after two bridges were swept away.
Food and medical supplies were flown in over the weekend. Officials hope a footbridge will soon be built across the river.
However, Longva is worried the weather could cause setbacks.
“With any rain, there is a risk of water levels rising again, but at this point the river has dropped considerably,” Longva added.
In the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, extensive road repairs are underway.
“One of the big things we are doing is just keeping people off the roads. We have to be very careful especially with the events of last week,” says Robie Gourd, with Parks Canada.
The concern now though, according to Gourd, is weakened infrastructure from last week’s storm that officials are not yet aware of.
“If we have any culverts that have failed or any sink holes in the road bed, new water could possibly activate some of those and we just don't know where the water is going to go now that it has found a new course,” says Gourd.
In the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, floodwaters reached their highest levels since the Thanksgiving storm of 2016. With many people still trying to dry out, the last thing residents want to see is rain.
“It was pretty stressful. Since 2016, I think a lot of people, myself included, are up most of the night watching the levels of the wash brook and if there's any water in my basement, and checking around your house to make sure things are dry,” says Wayne Mackay, Sydney, N.S. resident.
Residents in the Antigonish, N.S. area are echoing the same concerns with rainfall warnings issued for the area once again.
Andrew Swim's home was one of the hardest hit by last week's flooding in his trailer court in Antigonish. He says the walls, floors and insulation all need to be replaced in his home.
"We don't have a place to live for probably two months," said Swim.
In total, more than a dozen homes were damaged in Swim's trailer court.
"There's 10 that need quite a bit of work done on them and there's four that have been deemed uninhabitable," said Laurie Boucher, mayor of Antigonish.
Antigonish County Warden, Owen McCarron, says with rain on the way, there is reason for concern.
"With the amount of rain we’ve had, the ground is quite saturated. Any incoming rain is certainly going to pose more problems because the ground won’t absorb water as quickly," said McCarron.
Last week's storm washed out 25 roads across Nova Scotia – most of which have reopened with a long-term fix in the works.
"This is a temporary fix until next summer when we put a bigger bridge in but we wanted to do this just so we could get the residents out the other night," said John Barter, supervisor with Transportation and Infrastructure Operation.