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Major rain damage in Nova Scotia, Trudeau says he is very concerned

OTTAWA, July 22 (Reuters) – The heaviest rains in more than 40 years badly damaged roads, bridges and buildings in the Canadian Atlantic province of Nova Scotia on Saturday and police said four people were missing, including two children.

The storm, which started on Friday, dumped more than 25 cm (10 inches) on some parts in 24 hours, the same amount that usually lands in three months.

“We have a scary, significant situation here,” said provincial premier Tim Houston.

“The list of infrastructure damage to bridges, roads and other buildings is long … and it will continue to grow,” he told a televised press conference.

Authorities have declared a state of emergency in Halifax, the province’s largest city, and four other regions.

The regional municipality in Halifax reported “significant damage to roads and infrastructure” and urged people to stay at home and not use their care.

Houston, citing police, said two children were missing after their car was submerged. In another incident, a man and a youth were missing after their car ran into deep waters.

Environment Canada is predicting torrential rain in the east of the province, continuing into Sunday. At one point, more than 80,000 people were without power.

“I am very concerned about the flooding in Nova Scotia. People have seen their homes damaged, people have seen their safety at risk,” federal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Toronto.

“We will be there for them while they’re going through this but also through the difficult days and weeks to come.”

Pictures posted on social media from Halifax showed abandoned cars almost covered with flood waters and rescue workers using boats to save people.

“We have had biblical proportions of rain,” Halifax Mayor Mike Savage told the press conference.

“Our community is facing the awful force and unpredictability of nature, and a changing climate.”

Canadian Broadcasting Corp meteorologist Ryan Snoddon said the Halifax rains were the heaviest since a hurricane hit the city in 1971.

The flooding was the latest weather-related calamity to pound Canada this year. Wildfires have already burned a record number of hectares, sending clouds of smoke into the United States. Earlier this month, heavy rains caused floods in several eastern U.S. states.

Early on Saturday, authorities in northern Nova Scotia ordered residents to evacuate amid fears a dam near the St. Croix River system could breach. They later canceled the evacuation order.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Richard Chang

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Covers Canadian political, economic and general news as well as breaking news across North America, previously based in London and Moscow and a winner of Reuters’ Treasury scoop of the year.

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