At opposite ends of the country, extreme weather is causing property damage and forcing evacuations, but the causes couldn't be more different.
In the East, the problem is wind and water.
Newfoundland is under both a tropical storm warning and wind warning today as tropical storm Leslie sweeps across the island. The storm made landfall shortly after 8 am Atlantic Standard Time, with maximum sustained winds of 110 km/h and gusts of up to 140 km/h. It is expected to dump heavy rainfall over much of the island.
Patricia Devine of Clarenville in southeastern Newfoundland, whose house suffered major flooding damage due to Hurricane Igor in September 2010, says that she'll never forget it.
"All over this town trees were down, an awful lot of people got flooded basements. Oh, it was awful," she said, according to The Toronto Star. "In fact, I'm very nervous. I'm saying a lot of prayers."
In Nova Scotia, up to 75 mm of rain fell in parts of the province yesterday, causing widespread flooding of Colchester County, in central Nova Scotia. Runoff into the North and Salmon rivers, both of which run through Truro, N.S., caused them to overflow their banks, putting some houses under 1.5 meters of water. High tide overnight compounded the problem, forcing residents to stay away from flooded areas until the water fully recedes. This flooding wasn't due to tropical storm Leslie, though. It was caused by the same storm system that spawned tornadoes in New York City on Saturday.
[ Related: Leslie leaves turbulent wake in Newfoundland ]
Donna Munro, a resident of North River near Truro, was rescued by a neighbour in a canoe when she became stranded in her home as she and her son were trying to leave. They had just stepped out of the house when the front doorstep separated from the house and was swept away. Her son escaped to safety, but she became trapped as the water swept in.
"The force of the water, when the tide came in, is what I think really elevated everything on top of all the rain we had too. It just all added to it like a snowball effect," she said, according to CBC News. "It was the force and the viciousness of it, I think, that just sped it along that much quicker."
The storm system went on to dump up to 125 mm on parts of Cape Breton Island, but didn't have the same impact as the mainland suffered.
"We didn't have nothing like they had up in Truro, that's for sure," said Duncan MacKinnon of St. Margaret Village, a small community on the northern tip of Cape Breton, in a phone interview with the Halifax Chronicle Herald. "Ah, it's still blowing quite a bit but it's turned north, northeast and we don't get much rain when we get a northeast. The rivers are running high but it seems alright so far."
In the West, the problem is wind and fire.
In Alberta, over 3500 residents needed to be evacuated from Coalhurst and West Lethbridge, as a grass fire that started on the Blood Reserve jumped Old Man River and closed down Highway 3. The fire was being spread by strong winds in the area, and the evacuated areas were directly in the fire's path, however Lethbridge Fire Chief has reported that the fire is now under control.
"Mother Nature worked in our favour again on this with the high winds, kept the fire front narrow," he said. "The flanks were easy to manage and crews have done a phenomenal job."
In British Columbia, more forest fires were being driven by strong winds, and residents that were evacuated from the Okanagan Valley have only now been allowed to return to their homes. Four houses in the lake-front community of Peachland were destroyed by the flames as high winds prevented firefighters from getting the fires under control.
[ Related: Peachland residents remain on high alert ]
"The wind was blowing very hard in that area," said Grant Topham, Peachland's fire chief, in a news conference Monday, according to The Vancouver Sun. "We had the crews in there and they saved many, many homes. The wind blew the fire into those homes. They tried to save them as best they could; they tried their best. They saved many homes, but unfortunately, there were some they could not, did not save."
Fortunately, no injuries were reported in any of the floods or fires, and hopefully none will be reported from tropical storm Leslie's pass through Newfoundland.
Tomorrow will bring nice weather to all of these areas, letting people begin the task of cleaning up. Leslie is expected to move out to sea sometime this afternoon, leaving behind nice weather in Newfoundland for Wednesday and Thursday. The skies are clearing in Truro today and they should have pleasant, sunny weather for the rest of the week. Winds should be dying down for the west tonight or tomorrow as an area of high pressure moves in from the Pacific.
(Photo courtesy The Canadian Press)