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Flash flooding risk in Maritimes as Storm Erin arrives


August 29, 2019   by THE CANADIAN PRESS


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HALIFAX – Heavy rain was reported Thursday in parts of the Maritimes as Erin, now a post-tropical weather system, advanced toward the region.

Environment Canada issued rainfall warnings for southeastern New Brunswick, parts of western and northern Nova Scotia and western Prince Edward Island.

Big downpours were reported in communities west of a line extending from Halifax to Fredericton.

“You have the potential for more than 100 millimetres of rainfall,” meteorologist and consultant Jim Abraham said.

“I would be more concerned with the flash-flooding risk. The ground is hard because we’ve been in a drought. There could be rapid runoff when the precipitation hits that hard ground. Some flood-prone basements may get wet.”

Erin’s predicted track was expected to cut through the middle of mainland Nova Scotia late Thursday, with the heaviest rain expected to fall overnight on the left side of the sprawling low-pressure system.

“The heavier rain and strongest winds associated directly with post-tropical Erin should reach the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia later this evening or early Friday morning,” Environment Canada said in a statement.

Abraham said a weather station near St. Stephen, N.B., reported almost 60 millimetres of rain Thursday morning.

“We’re getting bands of heavy precipitation ahead of the leftovers of the tropical depression,” he said in an interview.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax said some gusty winds will likely accompany Erin, especially in those areas to the right of its track.

Coastal areas could get gusts exceeding 70 kilometres per hour, which could cause power outages.

“We have trees that are full of leaves right now,” said Linda Libby, an Environment Canada meteorologist based in Charlottetown.

“That means we could get damage at lower wind speeds. We’re still not out of the woods in terms of limbs coming down and impacting utility lines.”

Nova Scotia Power activated its emergency operations centre on Thursday afternoon.

“We’re placing crews around the province and working with staff and contractors to make sure we can respond safely and quickly as needed,” spokesman Matt Drover said in a statement.

“We are closely monitoring the weather forecasts, so if the storm shifts, we can modify our response effort, too.”

Meanwhile, gale warnings were in effect for the waters around the Maritimes, with southerly winds over open water expected to reach 74 kilometres per hour.


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