Canada – Record Rain Causes Floods in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland

Parts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada, have seen record rainfall, flooding and damaging 100km/h winds after a severe storm hit the area from 11 October.

Environment Canada said the rain was partly the result of moisture from Tropical Storm Matthew, previously a hurricane that has caused widespread death and destruction in parts of the Caribbean and along south eastern USA, in particular Haiti and North Carolina.

Environment Canada said “Last Sunday an intense storm developed southwest of Nova Scotia before heading toward Cape Breton. As this storm developed it pulled moisture from the remnants of post tropical storm Matthew. On Monday this storm brought extreme rainfall amounts and strong winds to Nova Scotia with the most intense weather affecting eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton.”

In Nova Scotia, the city of Sydney in Cape Breton recorded 228.2 mm of rain in 24 hours, beating the previous record, set in 1981, by almost 100 mm. The average rainfall for the whole of October is around 146 mm.

Rainfall warnings were issued by Environment Canada during the afternoon of 10 October for Sydney Metro and Cape Breton County.

Streets across the city were flooded and roads washed out or blocked by fallen trees and debris. More than 1,000 homes suffered water damage of some kind, according to local media, quoting Cecil Clarke, the mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Falling trees brought down power cables, leaving thousands of residents without power. At one point over 170,000 homes were without power in the province.

The storm later moved north, affecting parts of Newfoundland, where it caused significant damage to homes and roads, in particular parts of the Trans-Canada Highway, which was blocked for several hours. Other roads were also flooded or blocked, leaving some communities isolated.

Many schools have been closed in Cape Breton and Newfoundland.

Rainfall

Rainfall totals for Nova Scotia for a 24 hour period to 11 October. Figures from Environment Canada.

  • Sydney: 228.2 mm
  • Eskasoni: 199.6 mm
  • Sydney Airport: 139.6 mm
  • Port Hawkesbury: 137.4 mm
  • Ingonish Beach: 123.7 mm
  • Collegeville: 120.8 mm
  • Tracadie: 116.7 mm
  • Cheticamp: 114.5 mm
  • Caribou Point: 113.8 mm
  • North Mountain: 114.3 mm
  • Osborne Head: 109.4 mm
  • Malay Falls: 109.2 mm
  • Northeast Margaree: 107.9 mm
  • Halifax International Airport: 103.0 mm

The record breaking rainfall in Nova Scotia comes after a dry summer that saw one-third the normal rainfall in the south west of the province, according to local media. From June 1 until Sept. 18, the region received only 90 millimetres of rain, far less than the normal 315 mm.

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Flood Summary

Last updated: October 13, 2016
Event
Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada, October 2016
Date
October 10, 2016
Type
Inland flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall

Locations

A - Sydney
B - Morrisville

Magnitude

Rainfall level
228 mm in 24 hours
Sydney, NS, Canada - October 10 to October 11, 2016

Damages

Buildings damaged
1,000
Cape Breton Regional Municipality - October 10 to October 12, 2016