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Atlantic Canada bracing for three-day blast of torrential rain and powerful winds

HALIFAX — Residents along Nova Scotia's Atlantic coast and in southwestern Newfoundland were being warned Monday to prepare for torrential rain and strong winds as a large, slow-moving storm was expected to linger over Atlantic Canada until late Wedn
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HALIFAX — Residents along Nova Scotia's Atlantic coast and in southwestern Newfoundland were being warned Monday to prepare for torrential rain and strong winds as a large, slow-moving storm was expected to linger over Atlantic Canada until late Wednesday.

Total rainfall over that period could reach more than 150 millimetres across eastern Nova Scotia, with wind gusts reaching up to 100 kilometres per hour along the Atlantic coast — from Halifax east to Cape Breton.

"There are some areas where the winds blow onshore and uphill, like in Cape Breton and southwest Newfoundland, where we could actually get to 200 millimetres or more," Bob Robichaud, senior meteorologist with Environment Canada in Halifax, said Monday in an interview.

"It's just going to keep pumping more and more rain until another low-pressure centre ripples up along that trough on Wednesday … (and) that area of rain is going to swing back toward the west and peter out."

Robichaud said the soil across much of the Maritimes remains saturated by rainfall in recent weeks. As a result, he added, there is the potential for flash floods, water pooling on roads and possible washouts near rivers and culverts.

Rainfall and wind warnings have been issued for Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, southern New Brunswick, Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Quebec's north shore. Up to 75 millimetres of rain is expected across southern New Brunswick by Tuesday, and P.E.I. can expect up to 90 millimetres in isolated areas.

"The rain and wind intensity is going to increase in the evening hours (on Monday)," Robichaud said.

The Emergency Management Office issued a statement saying residents should prepare for flooding, storm surges and power outages. Among other things, the office says residents should have enough food and water on hand for 72 hours and secure all gates, lawn furniture, windows, trash cans, hanging plants and anything that can be picked up by wind.

"We want people to take the time and prepare themselves and their families," Jason Mew, director of the EMO's incident management division, said in an interview Monday.

Mew said the fact that the rainfall will be spread over three days is a positive factor.

"The more time it is spread over, the better it is for everyone," he said. "We could still have some localized flooding and some roads washed away, but it certainly helps to have that rain spread out over a couple days."

Other EMO recommendations include

— top up all vehicle fuel tanks and park away from trees 

— charge cellphones 

— keep pets inside 

— move boats or other watercraft to high ground 

— refrain from leaving candles unattended in the event of a power outage

— clear storm drains of debris.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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