At least four people, including two children, are still missing after moisture-packed thunderstorms dumped a record amount of rainfall across Nova Scotia this past weekend. According to authorities, more than 25 bridges were damaged, and hundreds were forced to evacuate their homes. The long and grueling cleanup process began Sunday as the floodwaters slowly started to recede.
“Two children, one youth and a man” remained unaccounted for after floodwaters inundated roadways and vehicles in West Hants, which is located about 50 miles northwest of Halifax,” said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on Sunday.
According to The New York Times, two children, aged 2 and 12, were traveling in a vehicle that became submerged in floodwaters. According to the RCMP, the three other occupants in the car with the children were able to escape.
Additionally, two others were still missing Sunday evening after their vehicle was submerged in floodwaters. According to the RCMP, two of the four occupants were rescued from the car.
The worst of the flooding occurred in central Nova Scotia, in cities such as Halifax, Bridgewater, Windsor and Lunenburg. Environment Canada said that some suburbs in the Halifax area received nearly 12 inches (304.8 mm) of rain in less than 24 hours.
In Bedford, which is a northern suburb of Halifax, preliminary rainfall totals Saturday reached 11 inches (280 millimeters). In Halifax, rainfall totals ranged from 3 to nearly 8 inches (80 to 200 millimeters).
If the rainfall totals from Bedford are confirmed, it will be the most rainfall the Halifax area has received in more than 50 years, according to The Associated Press. On Aug. 16, 1971, Hurricane Beth dumped nearly 10 inches of rain on the area, causing widespread flooding and damage.
As for the ongoing search for the missing people, search and rescue crews worked tirelessly Sunday to pump water out of the area.
In a press release Sunday, the RCMP said that they had located an empty pick-up truck in a flooded field in West Hants, believed to be the one the two missing children were traveling in.
“There’s zero visibility in that field. Our dive team located the truck by feel,” said Corporal Guillaume Tremblay, public information officer with the RCMP, according to Reuters.
The agency urged people to avoid the search area as current conditions remained “dangerous.”
In a press conference Sunday, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said six bridges were destroyed while another 19 were damaged. Houston said there could be “hundreds of millions” of dollars in damages.
A province wide state of emergency was issued Sunday evening. It will remain in effect until Aug. 5.
At least 600 people had to be evacuated across Nova Scotia while hundreds were stuck. In Bedford, search and rescue crews were using boats to rescue people from flooded homes.
“We are dealing with a storm that we have never experienced in our lifetime,” said the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg Mayor, Carolyn Bolivar-Getson at a press conference Sunday.
Over the past year, a recent string of weather-related disasters has affected the area. In May, more than 250 homes and businesses were destroyed by a wildfire that forced more than 16,000 residents to evacuate.
Last fall, former Hurricane Fiona slammed the province as a dangerous tropical rainstorm. Fiona killed three people and caused more than 800 million Canadian dollars ($606 million US) in damages after it slammed ashore as the “most intense storm on record” to make landfall in the country.
“It’s pretty obvious that the climate is changing — from Fiona last year to the wildfires in the spring to now flooding in the summer,” said Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, the AP reported. “We’re getting storms that used to be considered one-in-50-year events…pretty regularly.”
Produced in association with AccuWeather
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager