Washouts, damage to homes reported in New Brunswick after major downpour

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Photo Courtesy: CTV

The Canadian Press

FREDRICTON, N.B.: Heavy rainfall that dumped more than 160 millimetres on parts of New Brunswick is being blamed for widespread property damage and the death of one man.

The province’s Emergency Measures Organization says the downpour Wednesday and early Thursday damaged bridges, highways and guardrails across the province.

“We’re dealing with road closures . . . washouts and I’ve got a few bridge washouts as well, so we are looking at significant damage to road infrastructure,” said spokesman Paul Bradley.

The RCMP say a 51-year-old man in Berwick, N.B., died after a retaining wall collapsed on him as he was connecting a sump pump at his home. The man has not been identified, and RCMP say they are not investigating as the death is considered accidental.

Six duck hunters were also rescued from a small island on Grand Lake after their boat started to sink Wednesday night.

Environment Canada says 168 millimetres of rain was reported at Kouchibouguac before the storm let up Thursday morning.

Bradley said most roads were swamped and caution was being urged for drivers, particularly in central and southern regions. The downpour and subsequent washouts also forced the closure of some schools and cancelled buses.

Bradley also said the impact on private homes from flooding is reported to be significant.

He said some people in the town of Hoyt had voluntarily left their homes and 14 families in Grand Bay-Westfield were staying with family and friends. Bradley also said a reception centre had opened in the town of Oromocto for anyone who had been forced from their homes.

New Brunswick Power reported more than 5,000 outages Thursday, with most of them in the area around Fredericton.

Heavy rainfall warnings for New Brunswick and P.E.I. ended Thursday, though warnings remained in effect for much of Nova Scotia and western Newfoundland.

The weather office predicted between 40 and 80 millimetres of rain in Nova Scotia and similar amounts in western Newfoundland.

Forecasters urged people to prepare for flash flooding.

“Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible,” Environment Canada said on its website. “Watch for possible washouts near rivers, creeks and culverts.”

Nova Scotia Power crews worked today to restore power to about 3,000 customers.

Despite the nasty weather, four cruise ships carrying more than 5,200 passengers plus crew planned to make a day of it in Halifax harbour, including the Queen Mary 2 ocean liner which arrived around 7 a.m. A fifth vessel decided to bypass Halifax due to the weather and was headed for Saint John, N.B.

Lane Farguson, a spokesman for the Halifax Port Authority, said the rain wasn’t ideal but cruise passengers to the Maritimes are typically prepared for changeable weather.

“They know it’s possibly a good idea to bring some rain gear,” he said, adding that some even embrace the inhospitable conditions.

“It does add something to the experience when you get to see Peggy’s Cove with the wind beating down.”

 

_ By Melanie Patten in Halifax

 

© 2015 The Canadian Press