Eastern Newfoundland is feeling the effects of Hurricane Larry as high winds and rain are reported across the region. Thousands of customers are without power across the St. John’s metro region.
Thousands of customers in eastern Newfoundland are without power as Hurricane Larry made landfall as a Category 1 storm, bringing sustained winds of 130 km/h.
Larry made landfall at 1:15 a.m. NT near South East Bight, on the island’s Burin Peninsula.
Wind is gusting to 135 km/h in Cape Race, and waves are reaching heights of 3.6 metres in Argentia, above what was anticipated, said CBC meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler.
The latest tropical cyclone information statement from Environment Canada said a “notable” storm surge event occurred near the Burin Peninsula and Avalon Peninsula.
St. John’s International Airport recorded winds reaching sustained speeds of 96 km/h and recorded a gust of 145 km/h just after 2 a.m. NT. Brauweiler said the most significant winds would be felt before 3 a.m. As of 4 a.m., the storm is beginning to pull away from the island.
Social media users have reported flashes of lightning, but Brauweiler said the flashes are likely “power arcing” caused by power lines down during rainfall.
#Hurricane #Larry made landfall in Newfoundland at 1145 PM AST (0345 UTC) near South East Bight. The maximum sustained winds were 80 mph (130 km/h) and the estimated minimum pressure was 960 mb (28.35″). More: https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB pic.twitter.com/jVCtEnAjVO
The Newfoundland Power website is reporting thousands of customers are without power across eastern Newfoundland due to severe weather. As of early Saturday morning, areas without power include St. John’s, Mount Pearl, Whitbourne and the Burin Peninsula.
Brauweiler said exposed areas on the southeast coast of the province have already had winds of 143 km/h. According to the latest tropical cyclone information statement from the Canadian Hurricane Centre, Cape St. Mary’s lighthouse reported a peak gust of 182 km/h on Friday evening.
Jennifer Massey, who lives in downtown St. John’s, said the wind has blown the shingles off her roof. She said her power was out, and she felt like she was in a “Victorian novel.”
“It’s a little bit eerie, a bit creepy,” she told CBC News.
She said she hopes that the large, older trees in St. John’s make it through the night undamaged, but the extent of the damage won’t be known until Saturday morning.
Reports of damage start coming in
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 extensive damage.
Iceberg Alley cancelled its planned April Wine concert on Friday evening due to the storm.
A photo shared on Twitter appears to show that a section of the roof of Mary Queen of Peace Elementary school has been damaged.
Less rain expected than earlier forecasts
A fast-moving storm, Larry is now expected to drop less rainfall than had been considered possible in earlier forecasts.
Earlier Friday, meteorologist Rob Carroll said Larry’s peak would be a few hours, starting around midnight to about 5 a.m.
This period of time will also bring with it the heaviest rainfall, but Carroll said it should blow by quickly.
“We could see some heavy rainfall for two, three, four hours there late this evening and overnight, maybe even a few thundershowers as well,” he said.
WATCH: Meteorologist says Hurricane Larry is ‘a very well-organized hurricane for this far north’:
Larry ‘a very well-organized hurricane for this far north,’ meteorologist says
At midday Atlantic time on Friday, Hurricane Larry was accelerating as it moved toward Newfoundland, said meteorologist Bob Robichaud of the Canadian Hurricane Centre. It’s expected to make landfall in eastern Newfoundland on Friday evening. 4:43
Carroll told CBC Radio’s St. John’s Morning Show the hurricane will move through the eastern side of Placentia Bay and western portion of the Avalon Peninsula, heading north through the Trinity Bay area overnight.
Environment Canada has the entire Avalon Peninsula — which includes the metro St. John’s area — under a hurricane warning.
20 to 30 mm rainfall expected
Tropical storm warnings are also in effect for some areas west of the Avalon Peninsula, Carroll said, including Clarenville and the Burin Peninsula.
Carroll said rainfall totals should amount to 20 to 30 millimetres.
Storm surge warnings are also issued for south-facing coastal communities, with the potential for coastal flooding, high water levels and 10- to 14-metre waves, he said.
WATCH | Get ready now for Hurricane Larry, premier urges:
Get ready now for Hurricane Larry, urges N.L. premier
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey is warning residents to prepare an emergency kit as the province braces for a Category 1 storm to hit about midnight tonight. 1:23
On Thursday, government officials and the Canadian Red Cross insisted people prepare themselves and their homes for the imminent storm.
Karen Roache, who lives in St. John’s near Quidi Vidi Lake, heeded the advice and was busy around her property Thursday afternoon, trimming branches, securing fences and chairs and making sure her kayak was tightly packed away on her patio.
“It’s best to be prepared,” Roache told CBC News.
“I’m concerned about the trees. We’ve got a lot of really tall maples in the back. So we’re worried with the leaves on them they’re going to be really top-heavy. I’m hoping there’s not too much damage.”
On Friday, the city of St. John’s gave a breakdown of how it’s preparing for the storm. Lynnann Winsor, deputy city manager for public works, told reporters city staff have been clearing culverts, catch-basins and waterways of debris while also preparing sandbags and barricades.
Winsor said extra city staff are on standby Friday night and throughout the weekend. The city is recommending residents be prepared to be on their own for 72 hours, according to Winsor. She said the city will address the public’s needs, such as charging stations and shelters, Saturday morning after the storm.
Residents are reminded to call the city’s access centre to report damage and hazards at 311 or 754-2489.
Chief Sherry Colford of the St. John’s Regional Fire Department reminded the public to not call 911 in the event of a power outage or property damage.
“Use 911 for emergency services only. If you have an immediate threat to life or your property, such as a fire, certainly call 911,” Colford said.
Sean LaCour, vice-president of customer operations for Newfoundland Power, said crews have been preparing for the possible damage from Hurricane Larry for the past few days. He said high wind, rather than rain, is most likely to cause major damage.
“The potential for damage caused by trees and limbs coming in contact with the power lines is our biggest concern,” he said.
He advised people to stay in their homes and report any power outages. He said trees and power lines may be down on Saturday, and debris will likely continue flying around in the wind for a period of time after the worst of the storm.
He said areas with higher elevations or bigger trees could see more extensive damage. Power crews will be assessing the damage Saturday morning.
“We’ll have a better handle on how much damage, how long people are going to be off by [Saturday] afternoon.”
On Saturday, Newfoundland Power will have its full workforce out repairing damage, he said, advising people to remain in their homes so crews can easily access damaged areas.
Krissy Holmes of The St. John’s Morning Show will provide live updates on CBC Radio, while CBC N.L. meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler will provide the latest on Larry’s path. You can also get up-to-date information on cbc.ca/nl.