The government of Nova Scotia in Canada declared a State of Emergency on 22 July 2023 in response to severe flooding across the province after a slow-moving storm dumped more than 250 mm of rain in 24 hours.
According to the provincial government, the worst affected areas are East and West Hants, Halifax Regional Municipality, Lunenburg and Queens counties.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in West Hants said they received reports of 4 people who are missing flooding conditions in the area.
“Two children are unaccounted for following an incident in West Hants where the vehicle they were travelling in was submerged. Three of the five occupants, known to them, were able to escape.
“A youth and another man are also unaccounted for after the vehicle they were travelling in was submerged, also in West Hants. Two of the four occupants were rescued from the vehicle…We are asking the public not to leave their homes in a search for the missing as current conditions are dangerous,” RCMP said.
An evacuation order was issued by authorities in West Hants on 22 July for residents living along the St Croix river, where a dam was at risk of breaching. The evacuation order was lifted some hours later.
In the provincial capital, Halifax, officials said flash flooding has occurred in numerous areas of the municipality and dozens of roads have been closed due (see map).
Residents have been advised to stay off the roads as there is significant damage to roads and infrastructure. Extreme caution was also advised near the Sackville River. Halifax Search and Rescue teams were deployed to assist with water rescues. Around 150 people have evacuated and moved to an evacuation centre in Dartmouth.
“This is a very serious event. This flooding has been fast and furious, and we are taking strong action to ensure Nova Scotians are protected,” said John Lohr, Minister responsible for the Emergency Management Office in Nova Scotia.
“Nova Scotians in flooded areas are asked to have an emergency kit ready, in case an evacuation order is issued. No one should attempt to shut off electricity if water is present. Also, people should never cross flooded areas and they should avoid rivers and streams,” officials warned.
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) said preliminary rainfall totals suggest some areas recorded more than 250 mm of rain in 24 hours to late afternoon 22 July 2023.
Bridgewater in Lunenburg County recorded 262 mm during this period and Lower Sackville in the urban area of Halifax Regional Municipality recorded 255 mm. The Mean Total Precipitation for Halifax in July is just over 100 mm according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
To the people of Nova Scotia, who are dealing with serious flooding: We’re here for you. Through @HFXJRCC, we’re providing resources to help with evacuations – and we stand ready to provide any additional federal resources needed. Please stay safe, everyone.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 22, 2023
The two Cormorants have worked through the night and day to air lift stranded persons to safety in the vicinity of Windsor/East Hants due to limited access and washed out roads #RESCUE pic.twitter.com/5mSfoEck4V
— Halifax JRCC CCCOS (@hfxjrcc) July 22, 2023