Matthew brings floods, power outages and washed-out roads

Hurricane season hits Guysborough County

By Lois Ann Dort    

GUYSBOROUGH – Over 100 mm of rain fell on Monday, October 10 in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough. Rain, the monthly average for October falling in one day, caused basement flooding and turned roads into rivers, washing out shoulders and undercutting pavement. Following the rain was wind; trees toppled over and after several hours of sustained gusts, power lines failed, leaving many without electricity from Monday night into Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning Shawn Andrews, the Emergency Management Officer for the MODG, was out surveying the damage around the municipality. At that time there was still a major power outage in Country Harbour and minor outages down the coast towards Canso. The communities of Canso, Goldboro and Larry’s River suffered from basement flooding and local fire departments worked through Monday and Tuesday pumping out water to prevent serious damage.

Andrews told The Journal that there were many trees down across roads and on properties throughout the municipality.

Next door in the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s wind was the biggest complication from the storm, causing power outages throughout the municipality on Monday and into Tuesday. Marvin MacDonald, St. Mary’s CAO was at the municipal office in Sherbrooke on Tuesday morning preparing for the previously scheduled advance poll for the municipal election. The office was without power but MacDonald said, “There is light enough in there now, it’s not cold and the washrooms are working – so we did not see a need to postpone.”

The Emergency Management Coordinators in the Municipality of St. Mary’s reported little damage overall and only a few fallen trees on back roads, said MacDonald.

While Guysborough County did not receive the worst that Hurricane Matthew could offer, it is a wake-up call reminding residents and local governments that emergency preparedness is something everyone needs to keep top of mind. MODG Warden Vernon Pitts said, “Everyone should be a scout and be prepared.”

In recent years the MODG has sent out notices to residents encouraging them to be prepared. “People should be prepared to be on their own for 72 hours because none of us can control the weather,” said Pitts.

The MODG anticipates more severe weather events in the future and has commissioned a climate change action plan. Pitts noted that the flooding he saw in Lundy at his residence was unprecedented. “It’s a sign of things to come, weather conditions are changing yearly.

“Overall we have come out of it unscathed...To the best of my knowledge no one was hurt; we had some flooding, no injuries and no loss of life. It could always be worse. When we look at Florida and these places, we got off pretty lightly I think,” said Pitts.

After a survey of damage is complete, work will begin to shore up any weak spots on road shoulders and secure undercut sections of road added Pitts.

Workers from the Department of Transportation and Nova Scotia Power had a very busy weekend dealing with this Thanksgiving Day storm. In a press release Nova Scotia Power stated that the storm had stalled over Nova Scotia which “caused sustained winds to last longer than anticipated.” At the height of the power outages there were over 140,000 Nova Scotians without power, over half of those had been restored by Tuesday morning. As of Tuesday afternoon the power restoration time for outages in the eastern regions of the province was 7 a.m Wednesday, October 12.