Holding Pattern: N.S. autobody shops to see wave of flood-damaged vehicles later in week

(Photo by Kelvin Campbell)

Halifax, Nova Scotia — This past weekend saw a torrent of rain hit Nova Scotia, bringing with it flooding in some areas and a wave of damaged vehicles due for local bodyshops throughout the week.

The storm started on Friday and dumped about three months worth of rain over the first 24 hours, according to CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon, who told Reuters that this storm is the worst Halifax has seen since Hurricane Beth in 1971.

Collision Repair reached out to a number of autobody facilities in the Halifax area, many of whom said that while the damage from the flooding was extensive, pre-existing repair backlogs will mean that flood-damaged vehicles will likely not be in for repairs until at least later this week, if not next.

Kelvin Campbell of Chapman Autobody, however, finds himself and his Bedford, N.S. repair centre in the storm’s epicentre, telling Collision Repair that this storm is something different for the province.

“We started seeing heavy rain on Friday afternoon and by about 7 p.m. it got scary. To tell you the truth, I have never in my lifetime seen rain like that before—I have never experienced a thunderstorm that has lasted more than eight hours,” Campbell said over the phone.

“The tow truck started around 7:30 a.m. [this morning] with the first drop off, and it was a steady stream since. By noon, we had already received 20 tow-ins—by three o’clock, we had to shut it down. It was just too much, they were all total losses and it’s just a waste of time.”

Campbell also warned that flooding events like these have the unfortunate tendency to lead to flood-damaged vehicles winding up in salvage auctions, and therefore potentially into the hands of drivers, despite the fact that Transport Canada mandates that all flood-damaged vehicles be regarded as total losses.

In the wider Halifax area, a Dartmouth collision centre told Collision Repair that they are also temporarily refusing tow-ins in order to prioritize repair work booked prior to the storm.

Another shop described the sight of dozens of abandoned vehicles lining the highways as a warning of an intense few weeks of post-storm repair work to come.

At this point, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston is estimating that the cost of damage from this storm will likely be in the “hundreds of millions”, according to Reuters.


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