Flood fears remain high on the East Coast after 200+ mm of rain recorded

·3 min read
Flood fears remain high on the East Coast after 200+ mm of rain recorded
Flood fears remain high on the East Coast after 200+ mm of rain recorded
Flood fears remain high on the East Coast after 200+ mm of rain recorded

Many areas across Nova Scotia are facing some significant damage, as an atmospheric river takes aim at the East Coast this week. Excessive and record setting rainfall washed out and closed roads, and intense winds with gusts upwards of 100 km/h knocked out power to thousands on Tuesday. While some areas have seen the worst of the wind and rain subside, there is still some left to come for eastern Nova Scotia and southwestern Newfoundland on Wednesday. Rainfall warnings remain in place for some regions, with these additional totals heightening further flood concerns. More on what's left to come, below.


Much of the Maritimes are seeing a tremendous amount of Gulf and subtropical moisture this week, with numerous lows trekking across. Tuesday saw the storm knock out power to thousands across Nova Scotia, the cancellation of crossings and flooding closing several roadways including a section of Highway 245 near Antigonish.

On Tuesday night, Nova Scotia's emergency management office declared a state of emergency for Inverness and Victoria counties after heavy rainfall washed out roads and left streets looking more like rivers and ponds.

MUST SEE: Flooding prompts state of emergency, road closures across eastern N.S.

In addition to those impacts, Ingonish Beach, N.S., set an all-time single-day rainfall record with 234 mm recorded.

Capture (3)
Capture (3)

On Wednesday, a strong blocking high across the east will force this system to retrograde, essentially moving backwards from east to west, continuing to impact much of the Maritimes with ongoing rain.

Localized flooding will remain a concern, as an additional 15-30 mm of rain continues for Cape Breton, N.S., before gradually easing throughout the day. Meanwhile, southwestern Newfoundland will continue to be battered by heavy rain into the afternoon hours, with 50-100 mm forecast in the hardest hit areas there.

"Heavy downpours are likely to cause flash floods and water pooling on roads," Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) warns. "Avoid driving through water on roads. Even shallow, fast-moving water across a road can sweep a vehicle or a person away."

Sydney tree damage Nate Coleman Nov 24
Sydney tree damage Nate Coleman Nov 24

Flooding rains and powerful winds wreak havoc across Sydney, N.S. (Nathan Coleman)

As well, the Maritimes will see daytime highs drop drastically in the wake of the frontal boundary passing through.


As a result, there is the risk of rain transitioning over to a wintry mix --brief freezing rain, ice pellets or wet snow -- as temperatures remain below freezing. Slick conditions are quite possible for areas including Halifax, N.S., and into southern New Brunswick.

RELATED: West vs East: Canada sandwiched between atmospheric rivers


Beyond, windy and unsettled weather will continue through Saturday, but the heavy rain will be over before on Thursday. Low pressure over the Atlantic, south of the region, will continue to meander through the end of the week and then merge with another system approaching from the west into the weekend.

A strong blocking pattern over the North Atlantic is responsible for this extended period of unsettled weather as it is preventing the system from escaping out to sea. Temperatures will be very mild, including a couple days of double digits for Newfoundland, in the southerly flow ahead of the system.

Meanwhile, forecasters are watching the potential for heavy snow for northwestern New Brunswick late Friday through Saturday.


Because of the bout of drenching rains and intense winds this week, planning ahead is the best way to mitigate flood risk. While some damages are unavoidable, taking an assessment ahead of time can make a huge difference.

Checking your insurance is certainly key, and there are a few things you can do around the home to prepare.

  • Sealing your basement to prevent water from seeping into creeks

  • Raising electrical system components as high as possible

  • Making sure your sump pumps are working properly

  • If a big storm is coming, consider stocking up on supplies, like: sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and shovels

Getty flooding rain roof
Getty flooding rain roof

(Getty Images)

As well, if you can, arrange to leave your car in a high-elevation area, and avoid driving in flooded areas at all costs.

For other safety tips, click here.

Be sure to check back for the latest updates across Atlantic Canada.

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