Worst is over
Weather system has finally passed, leaving varying levels of impact in its wake
The worst of the most recent weather system that rained on Cape Breton for almost a full week has passed, leaving varying levels of impact in its wake.
Across the Cape Breton Regional Municipality some flooded basements have been reported but nothing comparable to floods that devastated the local area over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The rain’s impact was much larger in northern Cape Breton, though, where roads were damaged and closed along the Cabot Trail.
By midday Thursday, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal reported that only two roads were closed to through traffic along the trail.
“There’s two large culverts that we lost — one is on the west side of Middle River Road and the other is on MacDonald Lane, a gravel road,” said Steve MacDonald, area manager with TIR.
“They are both next to each other; they are very close, only a few hundred metres apart.”
The failed culverts were estimated to be about 6-8 feet in diameter. Replacing them first requires a design review from the Department of the Environment to determine proper sizing and consideration of things like fish passage.
Once approvals come they’ll move on those repairs as quickly as possible.
The rest of their work involves repairing washed-out shoulders.
“We have a list of all the sites that need repairs and we are prioritizing the higher volume roads first and trying to get as much done over the next couple of weeks,” he said.
“It will take a couple of weeks to get around to get most of the sites all touched up properly.”
Victoria County Warden Bruce Morrison told the Canadian Press on Wednesday that sections of the Cabot Trail were submerged under water and impassable.
In addition, he said, numerous homes in the area have flooded basements and the situation could worsen.
“Most residents will continue to be very concerned until rain lets up,” Morrison said.
“It’s a concern not only in residential areas but there has been farmland affected by the conditions.”
In the CBRM, the week of steady rain has saturated the ground and left water levels very high.
Though groundwater has been reported to be seeping into several basements, there are no reports of overland flooding of homes or infrastructure.
Ray Boudreau, manager of the CBRM Public Works Central division said there had been no major failures of any of their storm water systems during the current rain event.
“We haven’t experienced any culvert washouts, and there have been no areas along any major watercourses where the water has topped the roadway,” he said.
Over the past few days, he noted that public works crews have been inspecting all major waterways, brooks, streams, ditches and storm water systems throughout the city to make sure there are no obstructions that might impede the flow of water.
“Basically, we’ve been working to ensure that all of the areas where water needs to travel are open and operating at full capacity.”
No record rainfall amounts were reported over the past six days in Cape Breton, according to Environment Canada.
However the consecutive days of precipitation may have had residents feeling that way.
“We did get a total of 134.5 millimetres in Sydney since May 7 but it was spread out mostly over the last three days or so,” said Bob Robichaud, an Environment Canada meteorologist.
“Around Cape Breton there’s some higher amounts. The highest was 207.8 mm in St. Anne’s, Baddeck was about 175 mm, and well over 100 mm in most of the central and eastern Cape Breton.”
Looking at the days ahead, he said the rain situation should be improving over Cape Breton. In fact, things had already started improving by late Thursday morning when rain finally started to lighten up.
“We are looking at maybe a shower (Friday) but not much in the way of accumulation of rainfall and then it is dry for Saturday and Sunday.”
There’s another weather system moving in late Sunday night and into Monday that will
bring some rain but Robichaud said it will be nothing like the island had seen over the previous week.
An overflowing stream is seen from Union Street in the north end of Sydney. The stream flows between Union and Park streets in the community.
St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Catholic Church was devastated by Thanksgiving floods. Though waters rose around the Sydney church over the past week they were not close to the church on Thursday.
Water bubbles up from a storm drain off Park Street in Sydney on Thursday morning.