Residents in central Nova Scotia woke up to a major cleanup effort this morning, a day after heavy rains caused two rivers to overflow in the Truro area.

Officials with the provincial Emergency Management Office met Tuesday morning to plan a strategy for the day, after both the North and Salmon rivers flooded streets in the area and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes.

The area was pummelled with rain Monday as upwards of 75 millimetres fell.

Charles Cox, the deputy mayor of Truro, told CBC News he had a long night between assessing the damage in his town and trying to keep his own basement free from water.

"Last night, the football field, I could've gone swimming in it. Now, it's green grass," he said Tuesday.

"We're lucky in that regard, that it recedes rather quickly, but there are areas such as the Robie Street interchange that you cannot get through."

Businesses took 'tremendous hit'

Several streets in the area remain closed, including Park Street — which connects Truro and Bible Hill — and exit 14 off Highway 102, which leads into the town through Robie Street. Robie Street is the main commercial strip for the town of Truro.

"There's a lot of businesses down through that area that have taken a tremendous hit, more water than I've seen in the years that I've lived here," said Cox.

Karl Costandi, the manager of Costandi Designs in Bible Hill, estimated there had been about $400,000 worth of damage to his interior design business. Water destroyed most of furniture on the first floor of his store on Highway 311.

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter visited the area on Tuesday and said municipal and provincial officials would meet soon to develop a plan to improve the dikes surrounding the town.

Residents helped at reception centres

Cox said he wanted to speak with provincial officials about fortifying the dikes in the area.

"The water comes straight down underneath the Salmon River Bridge and straight by Stanfield's, and gains tremendous speed and then all of a sudden, it has to take a sharp turn to the right," he said.

"You get all that force of the water behind it and it just wells up over the dike structure. I think that what has to happen is that curve has to be widened out so that it doesn't have the force of all the water behind it at once."

Bob Taylor, mayor of the Municipality of Colchester, said 22 people had received help Monday night at two reception centres set up by the Canadian Red Cross:

  • Bible Hill Village Fire Hall at 69 Pictou Rd.
  • Immanuel Baptist Church at 295 Young St.

Forecasters with the Canadian Hurricane Centre said the rainstorm was not due to tropical storm Leslie, but rather a separate storm that temporarily blocked Leslie's progression.