SHEDIAC, N.B. — Cleanup began along New Brunswick’s storm-ravaged east coast Thursday with early damage estimates already climbing into the millions of dollars.
As flood waters retreated they revealed destroyed wharfs, crumbled sea walls, flooded basements and some damaged coastal roads that could remain closed until spring.
In hard hit Shediac, the high winds and storm surge destroyed a large marina, washed away dunes at nearby Parlee beach and forced about 40 mobile home owners to move their trailers from a flood-prone park.
“Everyone’s trying to get into the festive mood but right now Santa’s in second place,” said Mayor Raymond Cormier after surveying the damage.
“Our fire department and pumps have been quite active over the past two days helping people get water out of their basements.”
Further up the coast in Rexton, a number of homes were flooded but there was no discernable damage to roads or bridges.
Mayor David Hanson said most residents were trying to keep some humour as Christmas approaches, but they were beginning to find the string of damaging storms worrisome.
“I live up the river a couple of houses away from the bridge and it’s the first time I’ve seen waves coming into my backyard,” said Hanson.
Emergency measures officials urged people with damage from the storm surge to contact Service New Brunswick offices to file disaster relief claims.
The storm surge, the third major storm to hit the province in as many weeks, follows flood damage caused by heavy rains along the St. John River and the St. Stephen area earlier this month.
In Prince Edward Island the storm led to several bridge and beach closures and there was also road damage in Cape Breton.
Although Environment Canada has ended its weather warnings for most of Atlantic Canada, the effects of wind and rain are expected to be felt for another day or so.
Health and safety inspection teams fanned out in stricken areas of New Brunswick to determine the level of property damage and, mindful of the holidays, get people back into their homes as quickly as possible.
By early Thursday, about 700 reports of property damage had been filed.