Happy Valley-Goose Bay issues public safety warning as spring storm leads to flooding

·2 min read
Weekend warming in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has led to flooding across the community. Becky Michelin took this photo while kayaking down a road in the town. (Becky Michelin - image credit)
Weekend warming in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has led to flooding across the community. Becky Michelin took this photo while kayaking down a road in the town. (Becky Michelin - image credit)
Weekend warming in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has led to flooding across the community. Becky Michelin took this photo while kayaking down a road in the town.
Weekend warming in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has led to flooding across the community. Becky Michelin took this photo while kayaking down a road in the town.(Becky Michelin)

Town crews in Happy-Valley Goose Bay are working to deal with flooding after the area was blasted with snow, followed by warming temperatures and 28 hours of freezing rain over the weekend.

About 17 cm of snow fell on Friday, followed quickly by freezing rain that lasted through Sunday before switching to rain.

It took down trees, had Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro crews working to remove ice buildup on power lines, and forced the town to issue what it calls an urgent public safety advisory, as flood waters pooled on streets in town, and started eating away at some of the gravel roads.

"There's no doubt that this year's flooding is probably the worst I've seen," Happy Valley-Goose Bay mayor Wally Andersen told The St. John's Morning Show. "It's calling for temperatures of four and five degrees for the rest of the week which is probably unheard of at this time of the year."

Andersen said town crews are out clearing snow to try and open up space for the water to drain, with as much as a foot of water being reported on some roads.

Roads will be cleared on a priority basis, according to the town.

The town is asking people to be prepared for the flooding to continue, with more precipitation and warm temperatures in the forecast.

Drivers are encouraged to lower their speeds, avoid gravel sections of roads and to look out for new, emerging potholes.

With the most severe weather out of the way, Environment Canada said the next few days will continue to bring showers or flurries with the chance of freezing drizzle along the coast.

Andersen said the weather adds to what has been an unusual winter for central Labrador, highlighted by warmer than normal temperatures and much less sea ice in the area.

Residents have been told to prepare for more flooding as warm temperatures are expected to continue.
Residents have been told to prepare for more flooding as warm temperatures are expected to continue.(Elvis Strangemore)

"A lot of people say this is one of the funniest winters they've ever seen," he said.

"Normally this time of year there's a whole bunch of people here…who go down probably around the middle to the last part of April for their seal hunt. People are questioning now if the ice is even going to be safe for them to do that."

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