Storm surge, wind warnings lifted, but gusts persist on Avalon, Bonavista peninsulas

·3 min read
Even after weather warnings were lifted Saturday, strong winds and large waves kept up at Middle Cove Beach in Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove. (Charles Pickett/Submitted - image credit)
Even after weather warnings were lifted Saturday, strong winds and large waves kept up at Middle Cove Beach in Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove. (Charles Pickett/Submitted - image credit)
Charles Pickett/Submitted
Charles Pickett/Submitted

Damaging winds and dangerous storm surge levels in eastern Newfoundland may leave people in the area with a sense of Hurricane Larry deja vu Saturday.

Just a few weeks after Larry brought down trees and blocked roads, some similar effects were seen again on the Avalon and Bonavista peninsulas.

While Environment Canada lifted storm surge and wind warnings for St. John's and Carbonear early Saturday afternoon, some strong gusts are still in the forecast.

The province is still warning residents to stay back from the coast, as waves can come fast and conditions remain unsafe.

By Saturday morning, peak winds of around 120 km/h had been recorded in Grate's Cove, 110 km/h in Bonavista and over 100 km/h in St. John's, according to Allison Sheppard of Environment Canada's weather office in Gander.

She says while the winds will continue to gust throughout the day Saturday, they are slowly easing off.

"We do have a low pressure system that's kind of spinning east of us," Sheppard said.

"For St. John's in the eastern part of the province, really through [Saturday night], still gusting close to 80. And it's not really until Sunday that those winds start to gradually diminish."

There has also been damage reported due to the winds.

The Bay Roberts detachment of the RCMP issued an advisory that Route 70 — also known as the Conception Bay Highway — in Spaniards Bay had been rendered impassable due to debris on the road.

The road reopened around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

"We all knew this was going to happen again." - Bob Myers

Roads were also washed out in the town of Harbour Main-Chapel's Cove-Lakeview, where Coun. Bob Myers said the ocean grew more powerful through the morning Saturday.

"When I looked out this morning, you see the sea itself, rocks and boulders and sand and debris and sticks from old cribbing on the roadway and up on your lawn … it is very scary," Myers told CBC News Saturday.

Town of Harbour Main-Chapel’s Cove-Lakeview/Twitter
Town of Harbour Main-Chapel’s Cove-Lakeview/Twitter

"There were times this morning when the ocean water actually crossed the road over on our small lawn and underneath our patio.… We were thinking, 'is the next wave going to come in on our bottom floor?'"

Myers said the damage is in the latest caused by a series of storms since the beginning of 2020, when parts of the community saw large sections of damage during the infamous Snowmageddon blizzard. Unable to get disaster funding from the federal government, he said residents knew the next storm would be damaging.

"We all knew this was going to happen again, and some of the work that was done just this past summer … it's taken quite a pounding, I'm sure."

Myers said he and other members of the town would like to see a commitment from government to put more permanent safety defences in place, as he believes more intense storms will continue in coming years.

"To constantly just spend money doing Band-Aid work, it's getting us nowhere.… We need a long-term solution, and that's the reality."

Meanwhile, over 2,500 Newfoundland Power customers woke up to power outages on the northeast Avalon and in the Conception Bay North area Saturday morning, with fallen trees reported to have brought down power lines in some places.

Power has since been restored for most residents.

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