Hurricane Larry hits eastern Newfoundland with strong winds and storm surge


Hurricane Larry struck eastern Newfoundland overnight as a Category 1 storm, cutting power throughout St. John’s and surrounding areas in a brief, strong gust of high winds, torrential downpours and surprisingly high storm surge.

Hurricane warnings that had been in place for the Avalon Peninsula ended around 5:00 a.m., although the wind warnings were still in effect for some areas, including the capital.

At 3:14 a.m. NT, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 120 km / h, with gusts exceeding 180 km / h in exposed and elevated areas. Cape St. Mary’s Lighthouse reported a peak gust of 182 km / h Friday evening.

“It’s a huge, huge gust of wind,” CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon said on Saturday morning.

About 60,000 customers lost their electricity in the midst of the storm. By noon, Newfoundland Power had restored power to nearly 31,000 customers.

The company will have a full workforce to repair the damage on Saturday, and people are advised to stay home so crews can easily access damaged areas.

Mary Queen of Peace Elementary School on Torbay Road in St. John’s sustained significant roof damage on Saturday morning. (John Gushue / CBC)

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the City of St. John’s are calling on the public to stay off the roads to minimize any risk to public safety from falling power lines and debris.

After following police advice throughout the day, Metrobus Transit has announced that it will resume operations at 4 p.m. NT. CBC News has contacted the City of St. John’s to ask if the change also applies to personal vehicles.

Further updates related to Hurricane Larry will be announced as necessary.

Winds have gradually eased over the past few hours, but Snoddon said winds will continue to blow between 70 and 80 km / h in the morning in the eastern and northeastern parts of the island before easing all afterward. – midday in gusts of 60 to 70 km. / h with a mixture of sun and clouds.

Winds will continue to ease on Saturday evening and overnight, Snoddon said, adding that the forecast looks good for Sunday.

Fight against major road risks

“The priority for municipal teams right now is dealing with streets and major road hazards,” the city of St. John’s said in a statement.

Mayor Danny Breen, who spoke to reporters at 11 a.m. on Saturday, said the hurricane caused “a significant amount” of damage around the city. City crews took care of priority areas, including damaged traffic lights and roads that were reduced to one lane due to debris, he said.

“We ask residents to avoid traveling except for essential reasons,” Breen said. “Please leave some space for our staff so that we can finish the job so that we can find safe passage throughout the city. “

The Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is asking motorists to avoid the Highway 90 area near St. Vincent’s. A section of this road was damaged overnight and remains washed out on Saturday morning.

Transport Minister Elvis Loveless told CBC News he has been in contact with Premier Andrew Furey throughout Saturday, getting updates from various parts of the province.

WATCH: Residents on the east coast of Newfoundland assess damage from Hurricane Larry:

NL assesses damage following Hurricane Larry

Residents of northeastern Newfoundland are assessing the damage from Hurricane Larry, which caused storm surges, high winds and torrential rains. 2:41

Loveless said the department monitors culverts and bridges and assesses closed roads.

“Our engineers and teams started their shift work at 5 am this morning. They’re there, and I’m getting updates as we go,” he said.

Loveless said crews were currently addressing Route 90, an area near the North Harbor, Salmonier Line and closely monitoring provincial highways, but he could not give a timeline for completion of the repairs.

“We will be working diligently over the next few days, but from the reports I have so far, nothing can be resolved in a week,” Loveless said.

Roads across the province were washed away by the hurricane, including this road to North Harbor. (Submitted by Sherry Gambin-Walsh)

Placentia-St. Mary’s MP Sherry Gambin-Walsh, who lives in North Harbor, said the wind from the storm was about the strongest she had ever seen.

“The causeway is completely removed from part of the road. The ocean rises to the side of the road, so we’re a little concerned about the underside there,” she said.

“In the past we have had heavier rains… but this is the biggest sea damage I have seen. I have lived in North Harbor now for 27 years.”

Argentia waters 1.5 meters higher than normal

Environment Canada’s latest tropical cyclone information statement indicates that a “remarkable” storm surge event has occurred near the Burin Peninsula and the Avalon Peninsula.

The Argentia tide gauge showed a maximum water level about 150 centimeters higher than normal, according to the update.

Wind gusts from Hurricane Larry reached 182 km / h at Cape St. Mary’s. (Ryan Snoddon / CBC)

In Marystown, Fire Chief Justin Bolt told CBC News two homes were evacuated for a short time during the height of the storm due to concerns about the storm surge and high tides. Bolt said everyone is safe.

The rain was short-lived but intense, with about 30 millimeters falling “in a very short period of time”.

The statement said Larry made landfall at 1:30 a.m. NT just west of Long Harbor, Newfoundland, on the Avalon Peninsula.

Visible damage

Just before 3 a.m., reports on social media showed that the performance tent near Quidi Vidi Lake in place for the Iceberg Alley concert festival had suffered significant damage.

Iceberg Alley has canceled their concert scheduled for April Wine on Friday night due to the storm.

Shortly before noon, the group announced that Saturday night’s performance of Alan Doyle, Matt Mays and The Fine Lads had been canceled.

“Refund information will be available in the coming days,” the group said in a statement. “Crews are currently in the process of accessing the extent of the damage. The future of additional performance remains to be determined.”

Hurricane Larry brought a storm surge, heavy rain and high winds to the Avalon Peninsula overnight. (Jeremy Eaton / CBC)

Nearby, at the Torbay Estates apartment building in St. John’s, the hurricane caused extensive damage to the exterior of the building.

Building superintendent John Brown told CBC News bricks fell from an exterior wall around 1:30 a.m., smashing into two vehicles and landing in piles.

“We’ve had windstorms in the past, and it’s usually the siding [damage], never brick, ”Brown said.

In Bay Roberts, Mayor Philip Wood told CBC News the city’s biggest damage was to its softball field. Wood said the canoes in the field were “completely wiped out”.

Wood asks the public to stay off the pitch until cleared by city staff.

“To clean up around our roads and that, it will certainly take several days,” he said.

“[It was] a bad old night. “

The Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Complex in Bay Roberts suffered damage to its tank shelters. (Philip Wood / Twitter)

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