October 11, 2016 - 9:30 AM
HALIFAX - Thousands were still without power in Nova Scotia and some communities in Newfoundland and Labrador were under a state of emergency Tuesday after torrential rain and strong winds blasted the region.
Some parts of Cape Breton were inundated with more than 200 millimetres of rain, and Wayne MacDonald, director of public works for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said the extent of flooding damage is not yet known.
"Manhole covers have come off due to the pressures and in areas there is... damage that cannot be seen yet with the waters this high," said MacDonald at a news conference Tuesday morning.
Photos on social media show water reaching up to a car window in Cape Breton, waves battering the Canso Causeway and firefighters wading through nearly waist-deep water.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, states of emergency were declared in Lewisporte, St. Alban's and Little Burnt Bay. Photos posted on Twitter showed chewed-up roadways littered with debris, a car on its side and a destroyed bridge in St. Alban's.
All schools in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board were shut down Tuesday and comfort centres opened in North Sydney, Sydney and Reserve Mines.
Nova Scotia Power said there were a total of 144,000 outages across the province, and 55,000 homes and business were still in the dark early Tuesday morning — half of them in the Sydney area.
"The storm stalled over Nova Scotia and that caused sustained winds to last longer than anticipated," said power spokesman Paul Casey said in a news release, adding that most outages in western and central regions of the province would be fixed by 6 p.m. Tuesday, while eastern regions would be restored by 7 a.m. Wednesday.
Environment Canada said much of mainland Nova Scotia had received more than 100 millimetres of rain as of Monday evening.
Halifax RCMP and Maritime Electric in P.E.I. were asking drivers to use caution because of water on the roads coupled with downed trees and power lines.
In Newfoundland, residents and gas stations in St. Alban's were being asked to conserve fuel so there was enough diesel for heavy equipment and gas for emergency vehicles.
The town was asking the public to stay off roadways unless it is an emergency.
"There are many areas of town cut off... including access to (the road) going out of town," St. Alban's officials said on Facebook. "Less traffic will facilitate the work to get roadways at least temporally passable."
Cape Breton police chief Peter McIsaac said extra staff had been brought in to deal with an overwhelming number of calls. He said officers had responded to people stranded in vehicles.
"We're having a problem with people not paying attention to the barricades... We have people who are going around the barricades and getting themselves into trouble and it's also interfering with the Public Works crews who are trying to get infrastructure back in shape," said McIsaac at a news conference.
The Confederation Bridge connecting P.E.I. and New Brunswick was open Tuesday and traffic was running smoothly.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016