Nova Scotia residents told to evacuate amid threat of dam breach in heavy rains

The province had received more than six inches of rain

Sheila Flynn
Saturday 22 July 2023 18:24 BST
Heavy Rainfall Hits Corner Brook, Canada, Causing Flash Flooding

Canadian authorities on Saturday urged some Nova Scotia residents to evacuate as torrential rains and flooding plagued the area and threatened to overwhelm a dam.

“Dam overflow – Evacuation order for the St Croix river system area. Dam at risk of breaching,” the province’s Emergency Management Office announced, in a text and tweet.

Environment Canada said some parts of the province had received more than six inches (15cm) of rain, Reuters reported.

Nova Scotia Power tweeted Saturday: “We have activated our Emergency Operations Centre in response to the thunderstorms.

“As the storm continues, bringing lighting and flooding to parts of the province, there may be restoration delays due to road conditions. We are working closely with Emergency Management Offices.”

An evacuation centre had been set up in the province. Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser – an MP representing the region – tweeted on Saturday: “The flooding in Nova Scotia is extremely serious and poses a danger to the general public.

“We stand ready to support. In the meantime, please continue to follow all advice from local officials. To all Nova Scotians, we will get through this together.”

Officials said later Saturday that the dam was no longer at risk and being carefully monitored.

“Thankfully it is under control, they relieved some water from that dam and we’ve got most of the area evacuated now,” Windsor and West Hants Municipality Abraham Zebian told CBC News. “People are safe, thank God. We have many comfort centers open and we’re working through it.”

CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon described the situation as “a historic flood event for Nova Scotia,” with nearly 10 inches of rainfall in some areas by daybreak. He added that, in the Halifax area, it appeared to be the heaviest rainfall since 1971.

Downpours and thunderstorms were expected to continue over eastern areas through Saturday afternoon and evening, and more than 40,000 people remained without power, CBC reported.

Canada has been besieged by storms and wildfires this summer. Last week, there were 881 wildfires burning across the country, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC). The climate crisis, caused by emissions from fossil fuels, is driving larger, more frequent and erratic wildfires around the world.

Canadian officials have warned that this could be the country’s worst wildfire season on record and smoke would be a problem “all summer”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in