For Lisa Abbott, word of more heavy rains coming to Atlantic Canada this weekend is a distressing reminder of the Thanksgiving Day deluge that wrecked her home and left her still trying to find replacement clothing for her sons.
A forecast from Environment Canada called Friday for precipitation through much of the region, bad news for those who are attempting to rebound from the earlier flooding in Cape Breton and rural Newfoundland.
“I’m very concerned … We are displaced right now. There’s so much damage and the water is already high. Will we be flooded again? This is what I’m wondering,” said Abbott in a telephone interview near her home in Morrisville, on Newfoundland’s south coast.
Twelve days after the disaster, Environment Canada has issued special weather statements about heavy rainfall in New Brunswick, P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia.
The agency says there could be 50 to 80 millimetres of rain in parts of Nova Scotia, with a possibility of higher amounts in some areas. New Brunswick and the south coast of Newfoundland could see similar amounts, depending on how the system tracks.
Just days ago, Abbott discovered that insurance won’t cover the two metres of water that swept down the main street after ponds on the surrounding hills overflowed and water gushed through her home.
She said she’s hoping Canadians will remember the needs of East Coast flooding victims who have lost homes and possessions and consider making charitable donations to help with short-term needs.
The water that came through her newly renovated home took everything in its path, including two trucks and a patio, while a shed smashed through a living area.
“I had to go to Newfoundland and Labrador housing units,” she said, crying after a fruitless day of driving to a provincial politician’s office to fill out disaster relief forms and finding nobody was there.
“My son has lost all his clothing. He doesn’t even have a pair of shoes to put on his feet,” she said, adding that people have been making donations but she needs to purchase his size 13 footwear.
Approximately 200 millimetres of rain fell within a few hours on Thanksgiving Day in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, as metres of water overwhelmed culverts and drainage systems in portions of the Sydney area, and several coastal areas of Newfoundland.
Newfoundland’s Department of Transportation says there were 13 major routes impacted, some routes with multiple washouts. Preliminary estimates are that road infrastructure repairs will be over $10 million, with further estimates still to come.
A spokesman for the department said the weekend rainfall could set back repairs to roads and infrastructure damaged in the Thanksgiving Day rainfall and flooding.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality says a help line has now identified 300 homes that need to be assessed for disaster relief. Eight teams of inspectors are checking the homes.
As of Thursday, 24 homes have been designated as no longer fit for habitation.
“We’re looking in the area of 500 to 600 homes that were impacted,” said Christina Lamey in an interview. In addition, a community centre and two parks are damaged. Some residents are being housed in the dormitories of the Canadian Coast Guard College on the outskirts of the city.
For Abbott and other flood victims, there’s a sense that the road back to normalcy is just beginning.