Antigonish residents told to stay home after heavy rain causes flooding

·3 min read
Antigonish residents told to stay home after heavy rain causes flooding
The Town of Antigonish, N.S., posted this photo of flooding on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (Town of Antigonish/Facebook - image credit)
The Town of Antigonish, N.S., posted this photo of flooding on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (Town of Antigonish/Facebook - image credit)

Residents of Antigonish, N.S., are being warned to stay home after heavy rains have caused flooding and washed out roads.

Main Street is flooded and closed between Court and St. Andrew's streets. Chisholm Park and Columbus Field are also closed due to rising water, as well as the Creighton Lane parking lot.

The closures remained in effect Tuesday night. Town spokesperson Kate Gorman said around 8 p.m. that while water levels had receded, they were expected to increase later because of the incoming tide.

"You'll see the water level rise, hopefully not to the extent that it did, but we're keeping those barricades in place just as a safety precaution," she said Tuesday night.

Residents have been posting photos to social media of flooding and roads washed out in the area.

Town of Antigonish/Facebook
Town of Antigonish/Facebook

CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon said that as of 4 p.m. AT, the Collegeville weather station in Ashdale — which is closest to Antigonish — had reported 101 millimetres of rainfall. Snoddon said another 10 to 20 millimetres was possible during the evening, with lingering showers continuing until Wednesday.

"We just got so much rain so quickly that it had nowhere to go, but we're hoping now things won't be as bad as they were earlier this afternoon," said Gorman.

A spokesperson for the Public Works department declined an interview request Tuesday evening.

Antigonish Coun. Sean Cameron posted video to Facebook of flooding at MacDonald Trailer Park.

He told CBC News that the provincial Emergency Management Office was on scene helping evacuate the site. He said the local transit agency was transporting people to a comfort centre using buses.

Cameron estimated the water to be as deep 1.67 metres or nearly 5.5 feet in some places, noting he saw a car nearly submerged that had water up to its windows.

He said boats were even used to help get people from their trailers to safety.

Cameron said it's the worst flooding he's seen in more than 20 years.

The Canadian Red Cross reported 70 people were either evacuated or asked to shelter-in-place in Antigonish Tuesday.

Volunteers arranged emergency lodging and meals in area hotels for 33 people evacuated from the MacDonald Trailer Park off Maclellan Street.

Gorman said 30 people were evacuated from MacDonald Trailer Park and the Red Cross has checked all of the residents in to the comfort centre set up at the Antigonish Farmers' Market.

She said anyone else requiring assistance should contact the RCMP, who will put them in touch with the Red Cross.

H.M. MacDonald Elementary School in nearby Maryvale closed early for the day, as did all schools falling under the Strait Regional Centre for Education umbrella. However, Route 245, the road leading to the school, was washed out on one side and flooded on the other.

Dana El-Aker, a Grade 6 student at the school, said students were a bit freaked out about the prospect of having to stay at the school overnight.

"I did not want to sleep at the school," she said. "I had nothing, no clean clothes or any food."

At 2:20 p.m., students began leaving the school and all were home by 3 p.m., Strait Regional Centre for Education spokesperson Deanna Gillis told CBC News by email.

El-Aker said on the school bus ride home, she could see puddles in fields and the dirt roads seemed to have tree trunks sticking out of them. She said the students on the bus were screaming at times.

"It felt like the bus was kind of swaying and everyone on the bus was freaking out," she said.

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