Flash flooding disasters have always been something passing I’ve only seen in the news. It definitely seemed like they sucked to go through, but my monkey brain never really clued in to the true devastation these events unleash on people. Unfortunately, mother nature decided to show me (and central Nova Scotia) firsthand just how dangerous and terrifying these events actually are.
Such is the great flaw of human nature, and why we seem incapable of change until the worst happens directly in front of us, eh?
When the ark-worthy flood hit Nova Scotia on July 21st, 2023 I was definitely NOT in the right place at the right time. I can’t stop thinking about how close I came to disaster, and I can’t stop thinking about the four people who lost their lives that night.
The relatively mini-flooding event that happened in the wee hours of this past Saturday morning certainly didn’t help give me any peace of mind. Time to vent about this shizz into internet void in the hopes of soothing some of these rekt feelings!
In memory of the lives taken far too soon
I consider myself super freaking lucky and grateful, but fate was not kind to four beautiful souls who died in the flood waters that night. My heart breaks for their families. 99% of the time I’m a hard ass who stuffs her feelings aside, but I can’t stop sobbing like a baby whenever I think of the victims and what their families must be going through. The least I can do is give them a mention on this corner of the internet.
Natalie Hazel Harnish, 6, was an aspiring cheerleader who loved colourful clothing and visiting the zoo with her family. Donations in her honor can be made to her family’s GoFundMe campaign. They lost literally everything that night.
Terri-Lynn Keddy, 14, loved baking and cooking and was so strong she was able to beat cancer (she had her last round of chemo 6 months ago). Donations in her honour can be made to the IWK Children’s Hospital.
Colton Sisco, 6, loved superheroes, riding his bike, and playing Xbox. Donations in his honour can be made to Nova Scotia Ground Search and Rescue, the Oaklawn Zoo, or to a local Volunteer Fire Department.
My deepest condolences and thoughts go out to their families and loved ones. I know words are pretty much meaningless when dealing with a tragedy of this magnitude and I wish I could do more.
My personal XP (As TL;DR as possible!)
All was okay-ish
If only having to panic-summon an awesome Uber driver because I got caught in a massive thunderstorm walking home in Halifax was the scariest thing that happened to me that evening! I was scheduled to view yet another house I’d likely lose a bidding war on in West Hants (the housing crisis is for realz and a topic for another day). The thunder and lightning was a roarin’ and a flashin’ but it didn’t seem too bad when I left.
But it was actually really bad! It took me about an hour to get out of the city due to traffic backup (no flooding on the Bedford Highway at this time; just the usual traffic chaos when the weather isn’t perfect) and I missed the viewing appointment (turned out the house was a dump that shouldn’t have been ethically listed in the first place, but I digress).
I was so flustered when I got to Union Corner I accidentally destroyed my two right rims hitting a newly installed curb (anyone who knows that intersection will know). I called a super amazing tow truck driver who came from Kelly’s Towing in Grand Pré (highly recommend them). It was sunny in Union Corner at this time and the tow truck hauled my car back to Halifax.
Until it wasn’t
I got my parents who live in the area to drive me back to Halifax. We took ye olde highway to avoid the jerks who drive 140+ km/h no matter the weather on the main highway. All was okay-ish until we hit Sackville Drive. Oh. My. God. Waves of water splashed over us from oncoming cars and it was pitch black. We could barely see the road or anything around the car.
When we got near the 101 ramp to the Bedford Highway, we found ourselves in water up to the car’s windshield. No freaking idea how the little Nissan Micra kept on zooming, but it did. Shout-out to the huge truck in front us for creating a water wake that probably helped a lot. Later I found out the front hubcaps were ripped off and the front passenger side body panel detached from the back. If the car I was in had stalled in that current… I probably wouldn’t be typing this right now. Yikes.
Everything happens for a reason
We managed to get to a gas station/A&W on high ground near Bedford Place Mall. Let’s just say we got to walk over and watch first responders rescue people from the mall via boat. Insane.
Oh and 5 HOURS too late and after the torrential rain stopped, I got an emergency alert on my phone warning about the flooding. Very timely, government. Also massive shout-out to the clerk at the gas station for being very empathetic to me and many others in a similar situation there that night. Chatting with other people stranded there was so comforting.
It was 5am before the waters receded enough on the main highway to safely get to my place. Quite a night! My parents left shortly after and had to navigate pretty much all the backroads in Hants County to find a still intact route home.
The best part of this whole story is that I found out my tow truck driver not only got my car to the mechanic unscathed (well, no more scathed than I made it), but turned into a hero on his way back. My jaw dropped when I saw a news article on CBC about how a lady was rescued by a driver from Kelly’s Towing. I’m so glad I was an idiot and rekt my rims on that curb now!
Building an ark might be easier than getting leadership who can effectively communicate
Alright! Time to let off some anger. The authorities in Nova Scotia are so inept at public communication in times of emergency I can’t even find the words to yell at them with. Maybe my family and I wouldn’t have had such a close call if the emergency alert was delivered a little sooner than 5 HOURS after the flooding happened, eh?
I would like to extend my sincere thank you and big loves to the wonderful human behind the Twitter (X? Whatever the hell Elon calls it now) account Halifax Fire News. I discovered this awesome account during the recent forest fire disaster, and he’s pretty much the main reason I’m still on Twi-X-ter. He deserves all the coffee for the timely update service he provides to the community. I really should have checked in on his feed that night before I left.
Yep. NOT at all impressed with the government communication bureaucracy, but very impressed and grateful for all our first responders, just to be clear. Thank you so much to all the brave heroes who worked tirelessly to save people that night!
This whole thing really puts into perspective how minor all the day-to-day dramas we face are. Now maybe I can actually get some sleep after venting in this article? Fingers crossed! Stay safe, humanity.
Sources: Photo taken by Strength in Sarcasm. Screenshots take from their respective sources.