October 12, 2016 6:56 am
Updated: October 12, 2016 2:28 pm

Cleanup begins in Cape Breton, Atlantic Canada after flooding, torrential rain

WATCH ABOVE: A Thanksgiving Day storm has left people on Canada's East Coast feeling anything but thankful. A storm that battered Cape Breton and parts of Newfoundland and Labrador especially hard has left a lot of damage, early estimates peg in the millions of dollars.


Nova Scotia’s premier says he could not believe his eyes when he saw the damage from the powerful storm that pummelled much of Atlantic Canada over the long weekend.

“When you see what’s happening, trees being uprooted and taking roads with them, roads being washed out completely, the actual force of that water must be phenomenal,” Stephen McNeil said in Sydney Wednesday.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes.”

READ MORE: Cape Breton, Atlantic Canada deals with power outages, flooding after torrential rain

Both McNeil and Newfoundland Premier Dwight Ball toured areas of their provinces worst hit by the weekend storm, which was associated with the remnants of Hurricane Matthew.

The provinces face a costly and lengthy cleanup, as power crews worked to restore electricity and schools remained closed in some areas. Both premiers have spoken to the prime minister about disaster relief.

RAW VIDEO: flooding in Newfoundland destroys roads

The board has announced that students from Brookland Elementary school are being temporarily relocated to another school due to water damage to the building.

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Clarke said the municipality will be applying for disaster relief assistance, and he is confident it has easily reached the minimum $3 million threshold in damage that would qualify it for the relief.

He urged citizens to keep receipts and document the damage in order to apply to insurers and disaster relief agencies for assistance in restoring their homes.

He said many homeowners don’t have insurance and will be waiting to hear what kind of disaster relief they can receive from the province.

“We do not want to have mildew and mould issues going forward. We’re going to undertake a major cleanup to get things out of peoples’ homes as quickly as possible,” he said.

“We’re mindful there are people without resources, and winter is coming.”

READ MORE: 100 millimetres of rain could hit parts of Nova Scotia, warns Environment Canada

The Cape Breton-Victoria School Board announced Wednesday that students from Brookland Elementary school in Sydney are being temporarily relocated to another school due to water damage to the building, after the community received more than 200 millimetres of rain.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, crews worked to reopen the Trans-Canada Highway in Terra Nova National Park, where a section of the highway had washed away, cutting off southeastern Newfoundland from the rest of the Island.

Al Hawkins, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Transport Minister, visited communities on Tuesday and after assessing damage said he is opening talks with Ottawa to seek damage assistance.

He says roads have been destroyed, bridges wiped out and a number of homes have suffered extensive flooding.

WATCH: Some parts of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia were inundated with more than 200 millimetres of rain after torrential rain and strong winds blasted the region.

Clarke said the weather is a reminder that climate change is contributing to more intense storms on the East Coast.

“The intensity of weather … is definitely changing. We’re feeling that as an island in the North Atlantic. The intensity of weather, whether it’s winter or rain events, it impacts our public works infrastructure heavily,” he said.

“The severity of weather has increased and this event is no different.”

He said the heavy rain caught people off guard, as most people were expecting that after weeks of dry weather the rainfall would be absorbed without difficulty.

Nova Scotia Power was reporting 20,000 outages in eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton areas.

It predicted the majority of customers will be restored by 11 a.m. Thursday.

The utility said it had 122 power line crews and 27 tree trimming crews working on restoration efforts on the eastern mainland and in Cape Breton.

As Cape Bretoners deal with the flooding and power loss, the Cape Breton Regional Police says comfort centres are open across the municipality, however some are being moved.

  • Reserve Mines Fire Hall comfort centre relocated to the Glace Bay Fire Hall — access to shower facilities
  • North Sydney Firemen’s Club open as a comfort centre — citizens can go to Emera Centre to access shower facilities
  • C200 will continue to serve as both a comfort centre for those short term and long term and overnight stays — access to shower facilities

The Insurance Brokers Association of Nova Scotia is also advising those with damaged property to create a list of all destroyed and/or damaged items, as well as gather any post-damage photos and take new photos of current damage.

Residents are also being told  to keep all receipts from their cleanup process and any alternate living arrangements, as well as any repairs done or any efforts to dry out areas that have been flooded.


– with files from Global News.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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