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Kings County recovers from the wrath of powerful post-tropical storm

The intersection of Canaan Avenue and Main Street was inundated during high tide the evening of Sept. 7. Despite the waterlogged conditions, many forded the foreboding flood waters.
SAM MACDONALD
The intersection of Canaan Avenue and Main Street was inundated during high tide the evening of Sept. 7. Despite the waterlogged conditions, many forded the foreboding flood waters. SAM MACDONALD - Sam Macdonald
KENTVILLE, N.S. —

Dorian’s wild entrance into Kings County was as anticipated – ugly, grey and stormy. Although Kings County was spared some of the most vicious wind gusts, localized flooding and power outages abounded.

Town of Kentville chief administrative officer Mark Phillips described the amount of water Dorian dumped into Kentville’s storm water system as “overwhelming.”

Although he was not aware of any injuries as of Sept. 9, Phillips said Kentville suffered from a great deal of flooding, the result of more than 100 mm of rain falling in a very short period of time into the evening Sept. 7.

Condon Avenue was particularly hard hit by flooding. “That’s the third time this summer,” Phillips said.

In anticipation of potential flooding, the town brought in concrete barriers to keep debris and water from washing into the street. The eventual floods required two street closures and detours in the immediate area.

“We had temporary closures on Park Street and West Main Street due to storm water overflowing,” Phillips said.

Low-lying areas were not spared Dorian’s wrath. Properties backing Mill Book were significantly impacted, with the water breeching its banks during the storm.

Residents near Mill Brook faced fast-rising storm water that in some cases reached back doorsteps and flooded basements.

The effects of the flood were exacerbated by a lack of sump-pump support given that the power was out.

The intersection between Canaan Avenue and Main Street was temporarily partially submerged in water compliments of Dorian.

A number of people ended up voluntarily taking refuge from local flooding at the Kentville Fire Hall.

In the case of low-lying areas, rising tide waters didn’t help Saturday evening.

“(The tide) had a negative effect on the Mill Brook’s ability to discharge,” Phillips said. Luckily, the water didn’t linger long. Once the tide turned, the water started to discharge from Mill Brook and the flooding was quickly under control.

Phillips said the Town of Kentville worked over the week to prepare for Dorian in the wake of post-tropical storm Erin.

There was no further damage to the business park during Dorian’s visit to Kentville. Flooding and subsequent erosion from Erin resulted in road damage in the park.

“We were trying to maintain what we had and trying to protect as many people as best as we can,” Phillips said.

Many of the trees adorning Memorial Park got a good thrashing from post-tropical storm Dorian. The results of that trashing could be seen the following morning, with many trees bereft of boughs and branches. SAM MACDONALD
Many of the trees adorning Memorial Park got a good thrashing from post-tropical storm Dorian. The results of that trashing could be seen the following morning, with many trees bereft of boughs and branches. SAM MACDONALD

In addition to the flooding, Dorian’s winds damaged trees in Kentville, tearing limbs, scattering foliage on roads and in yards and, in some cases, uprooting trees onto power lines or streets.

Phillips said that while dealing with power lines downed by fallen trees is Nova Scotia Power’s wheelhouse, the town takes action by closing roadways blocked by fallen trees so they can be dealt with as quickly as possible.

As of Sept. 9, Kentville was in the midst of recovery mode. However, Phillips said the town is looking to the future by preparing some preventative measures for the Condon Avenue area. The town plans to upgrade the storm water system.

“We’re upgrading to meet the new demands we’re facing,” Phillips said. “Council is supporting that, and we’ve accelerated that infrastructure project.”


REGIONAL IMPACT

Dan Stovel, regional emergency management co-ordinator (REMC) for Kings County, was proud of how seriously people heeded the warnings of the impending storm.

More than 100 people signed up for the emergency management organization’s emergency notification system.

Stovel believes this level of awareness is one reason why there aren’t reports of serious injuries in the wake of such a powerful weather event.

He pointed to the widespread power outages as the most significant outcome noted in Kings County. Several comfort centres were opened throughout the county, giving residents shelter and a place to charge electronics.

Stovel stressed that the earlier in hurricane season a wind event happens, the worse it is.

“If the trees are still full of leaves, it creates a sail-effect that leads to lots of branches knocking down power lines,” Stovel said. “There was no particular area where this was worse. We had lines knocked out from Aylesford to the Scots Bay area.”

A total of 110 mm of rain falling on Saturday evening resulted in flooding that caused some wash-outs in the Canning area.

As recovery continues throughout the region and Nova Scotia Power continues restoring power infrastructure, Stovel advised residents to avoid non-essential travel, and to continue to be wary since hurricane season lasts until late November.

“Even though it is beautiful today, there are still a number of closures,” said Stovel Sept. 9. “Stay away from downed power lines and, if you see any, please report them.”


RCMP

The RCMP contended with a busy weekend. In an email to Kings County News, spokesperson Cpl. Jennifer Clarke reported that the RCMP’s 911 Operational Communications Centre received three times the usual call volume it would normally get on any given weekend.

Clarke noted there were also some reports of vandalism in the Kings County area.

“Some detachments are on generator power, but there has been no disruption to service delivery,” Clarke wrote. “It’s business as usual for us.”

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Sam.macdonald@kingscountynews.ca

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