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Devastating Historic Flooding Hits Nova Scotia, Canada: Extreme Rainfall Causes Damage and Endangers Lives

Extreme rainfall has caused historic flooding in parts of Nova Scotia, Canada.[0] The heavy downpours began on Friday and have resulted in significant damage and dangerous conditions throughout the region. The rainfall has been so severe that it is estimated to have dropped more rain in one afternoon than the area typically receives during an entire summer.[1] The average summertime rainfall in Halifax is around 270 mm, but the recent deluge has far surpassed that amount.

The last time Nova Scotia experienced this level of rainfall was on August 16, 1971, when Hurricane Beth made landfall near the eastern tip of mainland Nova Scotia.[2] At that time, almost 250 mm of rain fell on the Halifax area, causing widespread flooding and $3.5 million in damage. The current flooding is being described as the heaviest rainfall event since that hurricane.

The impact of the extreme rainfall has been devastating. At least four people, including two children, have been reported missing after their vehicles became submerged in floodwaters. Rescue efforts are ongoing, but the dangerous conditions have made it challenging to locate the missing individuals. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have urged people in the affected areas to stay in their homes and not join the search efforts to avoid further endangering themselves.

In addition to the human toll, the flooding has caused significant damage to infrastructure. Roads and bridges have been washed away, and numerous areas are experiencing power outages. Nova Scotia Power reported that at the peak of the storm, over 70,000 customers were without electricity due to lightning impacts on power equipment and infrastructure.[3] As of Saturday morning, more than 18,000 households were still without power.[4]

The situation has prompted the Nova Scotia government to declare a provincewide state of emergency, which will remain in effect until August 5 unless it is extended or ended earlier.[0] The government is mobilizing federal resources to assist with rescue and recovery operations.

Local officials have expressed the severity of the flooding, with Halifax Councillor Lisa Blackburn describing it as a “historic flood event.” The rapid rise in water levels has overwhelmed streams and rivers, leading to widespread flooding and road washouts.[5] The Halifax Regional Municipality has warned of dangerous conditions and urged motorists to stay off the roads.

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston has called on residents to prioritize their safety and stay home. He emphasized that the ongoing rainfall poses a continued risk of damage and injury. Houston expressed his concern for the missing individuals and their families, assuring them that everything possible is being done to locate them.

As the cleanup and recovery efforts continue, the full extent of the damage caused by the historic flooding in Nova Scotia is yet to be determined. The focus remains on ensuring the safety of residents and providing support to those affected by the extreme rainfall.

0. “4 people missing in Nova Scotia after vehicles became submerged in floodwaters” CBC.ca, 21 Jul. 2023, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/widespread-rainfall-warnings-alerts-in-effect-1.6914299

1. “Nova Scotia’s historic rains would’ve smashed records in Florida” The Weather Network, 22 Jul. 2023, https://www.theweathernetwork.com/en/news/weather/severe/nova-scotias-historic-rains-wouldve-smashed-records-in-florida

2. “Nova Scotia flood: Two children among four missing” CTV News Atlantic, 22 Jul. 2023, https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/two-children-among-four-missing-after-record-breaking-nova-scotia-downpours-1.6490336

3. “Four people missing as record rainfall causes widespread flooding in Nova Scotia” The Globe and Mail, 22 Jul. 2023, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-nova-scotia-rainfall-flooding-british-columbia-wildfires-heat

4. “Heavy rains wreak havoc in eastern Canadian province of Nova Scotia” North Country Public Radio, 22 Jul. 2023, https://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/npr/1189588738/heavy-rains-wreak-havoc-in-eastern-canadian-province-of-nova-scotia

5. “Two children among four missing after record-breaking Nova Scotia downpours” CP24, 22 Jul. 2023, https://www.cp24.com/news/two-children-among-four-missing-after-record-breaking-nova-scotia-downpours-1.6490046