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Nice to see rain but more needed, say officials in Yarmouth County, Barrington

Local municipal units are continuing to monitor the water situation and trying to help people affected this year's dry conditions.
Local municipal units are continuing to monitor the water situation and trying to help people affected this year's dry conditions. - Contributed

The rain that fell Tuesday, Sept. 18, was certainly a welcome sight for a lot of people, but it will take more precipitation to bring things back to normal, say a couple of local EMO officials.

Yarmouth got 59.6 mm, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada, although some places in Yarmouth County reported higher amounts, notably Tusket, where 94.5 mm was reported.

Other areas received less. North East Point on Cape Sable Island, for example, reported only 36.1 mm.

A meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada said the worst of this year’s drought may be over, although as of Sept. 21, he said no significant rain was expected in the next few days.

Janine Muise, EMO co-ordinator for the Municipality of Argyle, said last Tuesday’s rain was surely welcome. Contacted the day afterwards, she said, “The grass is going to grow and lawn mowers are going to start, but from what I understand, it’s not enough to bring people’s wells up significantly.”

Like other local municipal units that have been affected by the dry conditions, the Municipality of Argyle has been doing what it can to help people and Muise said they would continue to do so.

“We are still maintaining sort of our status quo,” she said, referring to efforts to make sure residents have access to water.

In the Municipality of Barrington, EMO co-ordinator David Kendrick said the Sept. 18 rainfall was good to see, but, like Muise, he said a good deal more is needed.

“I don’t think things have changed (much) since we had the rain here,” he said. “We only had 36 mm. Although it brought up the river a little, it doesn’t seem to have made any difference to people’s wells.”

Bob Robichaud, an Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist based in Dartmouth, said the rain of Sept. 18 was “associated with the remnant moisture of (hurricane) Florence, so that generated those kind of heavier downpours.”

Interviewed Sept. 21, Robichaud said a low-pressure system tracking through northern Quebec had the pattern of a fall system. (Sept. 22 marked the official arrival of autumn.) Although there didn’t seem to be much rain coming with this particular system, he suggested the weather could be changing.

“The fact that we’re getting more frequent little episodes of rain is an indicator that the pattern might be changing to a more fall-like pattern, which tends to bring more low-pressure systems and increases the chances to get rainfall,” he said.

The municipalities of Argyle and Barrington were among the hardest hit areas in the drought of two years ago.

“Some wells that went dry in 2016 didn’t go dry this time around,” Muise said. “Some wells that didn’t go dry in 2016 went dry this year. I would say it’s very similar to 2016, based on the need and what we’ve heard around the municipality.”

Interest in a municipal program to help people upgrade their wells is up significantly this year over two years ago, she said.

In the Barrington area, the situation doesn’t appear to be as severe this year as it was in 2016, Kendrick said. The drought of two years ago perhaps was a learning experience for people, he said.

“It doesn’t seem to be quite as bad as it was in 2016, but probably the people are coping with it better,” he said.

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