September 11, 2012
Tropical storm Leslie slams into N.L.
By QMI Agency
The hurricane watch ended for Newfoundland late Tuesday morning, but the damage had been done.
Tropical storm Leslie arrived around 8:30 a.m. and battered the province for several hours, bringing near-hurricane-force winds, heavy rains and widespread power outages.
"Leslie made landfall near Fortune on the Burin Peninsula and still packing a wallop," Environment Canada said Tuesday morning. Fortune is located on Newfoundland's southern tip.
Rain poured down at a rate of about 25 millimetres per hour in some areas, while winds reached sustained speeds as high as 120 km/h.
Powerful gusts were reported at Long Pond (124 km/h), Argentia (120 km/h), St. John's International Airport (131 km/h) and at a private weather station at Cape Pine (137 km/h).
More than one transport truck crashed on the Trans Canada Highway.
Const. Dennis Hann of the N.L. RCMP posted a picture of one and cautioned drivers.
"Do not stop to take pictures or look at this semi truck. You will cause another crash and get a ticket!!"
St. John's city councillor Danny Breen tweeted, "Well so much for the siding on the house..."
Lorin Breen of St. Mary's -- located about 120 km southwest of St. John's -- said Leslie took about six hours to pass through his area, leaving a trail of destruction: Telephone poles were downed, trees were uprooted on his lawn and his uncle's shed "blew apart."
"It's pretty crazy. The vehicles were lifting right up in the driveway. It's the windiest I've ever seen it here," he told QMI Agency.
Lorin Breen said the power was out for a few hours.
Newfoundland Power kept a running list on its website of communities where the power was out due to "severe weather conditions" and later announced, "Damage assessment ongoing. Hope to have majority of customers back on by midnight, however some customers may be off into tomorrow. Be safe."
Thousands of customers remained in the dark Tuesday afternoon after Leslie was downgraded to a "post-tropical storm" and communities across the province emerged to assess the damage and begin cleaning it up.
The city of St. John's asked residents to stay away from the downtown while crews dealt with debris and damage to buildings.
"We can't stress enough that pedestrians need to stay out of downtown (Water/Duckworth) for their own safety," the city tweeted.
In the tiny town of Badger, where Mayor Michael Patey declared a state of emergency Monday in advance of the storm, officials worried about a 24-metre-high empty water tower being blown down and set about dismantling it.
Newfoundland was trending on Twitter throughout the day, as users reported on the damage in real time.
"Power off, trees down, roof tops lifting off buildings -- #Leslie packing a punch here in southeastern #Newfoundland," Harry Tucker wrote.
In addition to closures and cancellations, helpful citizens also tweeted about establishments that were open, like the liquor store and Timmies.
"Tim Horton's Major's Path is open... line-up for inside is OUT IN THE PARKING LOT," wrote Tara Bradbury.
By late afternoon, all storm warnings were called off after Leslie had mostly moved back out to sea, and the high winds were expected to recede as the day went on.
-- with files from Kristy Brownlee