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Bridge washout in Middle River in Chester Basin

All eyes in West Hants as search continues for missing children after historic rains

By Steve MacArthur Jul 23, 2023 | 11:14 PM

A large search continues for four missing people in Hants County after severe downpours wreaked havoc on many areas of our province.

Among the missing are two children, a youth, and an adult.

It happened after their vehicles quickly became submerged under water on Saturday.

Mayor Abraham Zebian fought back tears as he addressed the situation.

“We’re doing everything we can, our hearts and prayers are going out to those families. I just want them all to know that we’re all with you.”

Police were able to locate a pick-up truck, which is believed to be the vehicle that the children were in, but it was empty.

RCMP added that industrial pumping equipment is being mobilized to lower the water levels in the search area.

The Department of Natural Resources and Ground Search and Rescue Teams from West Hants, Colchester, and Annapolis Valley are all involved in the search.

“Out of respect for the families we will not be releasing their identities or any additional personal information at this time,” RCMP statement released on Sunday.

25 Bridges Impacted, 6 wiped out

The clean-up continues after historic rain and flooding caused millions in damage.

The city is asking residents to use extreme caution near the Sackville River and Bedford Highway area and to stay away from flood waters in all areas.

Several roads and bridges remain flooded and underwater. As for bridges, they require a structural assessment before they can be opened and for water levels to be normal. It is expected that can be done, today.

In total, 25 bridges were impacted in our province with six being completely wiped out.

Roads have been slowly opening back up as the water recedes.

Repairs could take several days or weeks and more information on scheduling will be provided once the water has receded.

Roughly 600 people were evacuated due to flooding in their homes at the peak of the storm.

Nova Scotia’s chief engineer has reported more than 50 roads have been washed out, mainly in the central and western regions of the province.

Mark Peachy says about 400 people are isolated right now because of bridge damage.

Nova Scotia has applied for federal funding to help with costs not covered by insurance, and in a post to social late Sunday, the request has been approved by the federal government.

Road Conditions

RCMP continue to ask people to drive with caution as shoulders of highways have been impacted and flooding on major highways is still a problem.

The most up to date information on roads can be found at 511 either by phone and online.

Flooding advisories remain in effect for Highway 101, 102, 103, 107, 111 and 118. The 102 has one lane open at Exit 5 outbound.

Source: 511

Halifax Hard Hit

If you are wondering about getting into work on Monday, the city has a map of roads blocked due to flooding and it is available here.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage says it will take days for the water to recede in places like Bedford and Sackville.

Savage is calling for patience as crews work to repair roads and infrastructure.

They are dealing with about 300 calls for road repairs.

Due to flooding throughout the municipality and extensive road damage, there are significant delays and detours throughout the Halifax Transit system.

Updates are shared on halifax.ca/transit, as well as @hfxtransit on Twitter.

There are still a number of areas which are not accessible and concerns about safety of residents and the ability to move around.

As a result, municipal offices will be closed Monday, July 24, and any administrative staff who can work remotely are being asked to do so. 

Emergency Management Director Erica Fleck says it will help to reduce traffic and allow crews to continue assessments and repairs.

Source: Nova Scotia Government.

Halifax Water’s Jeff Myrick says crews have been working around the clock and all dams are structurally sound.

The Halifax Water system remains safe to drink. See the fact sheet on using well water after a flood.

Emergency flooding calls are to be directed to Halifax Water at 902.420.9287

Some Parks Closed

All natural turf sport fields are closed, all ball diamonds are closed, and all-weather fields are open.

Sandy Lake Beach in Bedford is closed to swimming until further notice due to an overflowing Halifax Water wastewater pumping station adjacent to the lake. Fish Hatchery Park and Range Park will remain closed until further notice.

The city asks residents to use caution when using parks and trails and avoid areas that have been affected by flooding where there may be wash outs, debris, standing water or other unsafe conditions.

Please avoid recreating on lakes and rivers at this time, as safety is still a concern and shorelines remain extremely susceptible to further damage.

The Bedford Outdoor Pool is significantly damaged and remains closed until further notice.

Recreation centres will largely be open, but some located in the impacted areas may be closed. Residents should call ahead to their recreation facility.

For more information, follow @hfxgov on Twitter, or visit: halifax.ca/flood

Several Areas See Rainfall Totals 250mm+

Between 200 and 300 millimeters of rain fell in this historic weather event.

Much of it falling within 12 to 15 hours.

Dozens of communities witnessed over 250 millimetres including Bedford, Lower Sackville and Bridgewater.

The largest number on the map is 300 millimetres in the Panuke Lake area.

Evacuation Orders Lifted

As the weather improved, evacuation orders were lifted around Fancy Lake in Lunenburg County and residents were allowed to return to 440 homes in the area.

Shelters that were opened are now closed as of Sunday.

Other evacuation orders were lifted in the St. Croix area in Hants County.

HRM, however has opened an evacuation centre for residents dealing with power outages and flooding.

The East Dartmouth Community Centre (50 Caledonia Road, Dartmouth) will remain open until further notice. The Red Cross will be on-site to provide support for those displaced by the floods.

There are currently approximately 200 residents displaced by the floods.


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