The town of Channel-Port aux Basques is cut off from the rest of Newfoundland in both directions as heavy rain continues to fall over the area from a heavy storm that started Tuesday.
The province said there are road washouts five kilometres north and two kilometres south south of the community Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, the province’s Department of Transportation reported multiple roads are washed out in the Codroy Valley area, including two parts of the Trans-Canada Highway near Doyles, which connect the region to the rest of the island.
The department reported the following road closures:
- Trans-Canada Highway five kilometres southwest of Doyles intersection, both lanes are washed out.
- Trans-Canada Highway 16 kilometres southwest of Doyles intersection, one lane washed out.
- Trans-Canada Highway 25 kilometres northwest of Port aux Basques.
- Route 406-11, Doyles Station Road, an alternate route is available.
- Route 413-01, St. Andrews Road, an alternative route is available.
- Loch Lomond Road, one lane is closed.
- Upper Ferry Road, one lane is closed.
Environment Canada said Port aux Basques has received 143.4 millimetres of rain as of 11:30 a.m. NT Wednesday.
Roads are also closed in Red Bay in southern Labrador because of washouts. Tracey Road leading to Tracey Hill is closed until further notice, while areas of North Brook Road are damaged but open for the time being.
The town had received 50 millimetres of rain as of 7 a.m. AT, according to officials.
On Wednesday afternoon, Premier Andrew Furey said helicopters are on standby for emergencies, and so far there are no worries about supplies in the community. The province is not considering evacuating any homes yet, but officials and police are asking people to stay off of roadways.
WATCH | Drainage systems are starting to get overwhelmed:
Wade Osmond, who lives in Port aux Basques, woke to discover major flooding on his property that’s located near a brook which he says is ready to burst from the rainfall flowing steadily from a pond above.
“If that breaks, we’re in trouble.”
Osmond also found about 2.5 centimetres of water in his basement and said he’s worried about the rain that’s still to come.
More rain to come
Rodney Barney, a meteorologist with Environment Canada’s weather officer in Gander, said the rain intensified early Wednesday morning, as meteorologists expect the system to bring 150 to 200 millimetres of rain to the area in total.
“We’re still looking at another 12 to 18 hours of rain,” he said.
“It looks like through the morning hours is probably when the heaviest part of the shower activity will be occurring for today, then gradually winding down as we go into the afternoon and evening.”
Barney said another 50 to 80 millimetres of rain could fall, with as much as 150 millimetres over high-elevation areas.
Osmond said it’s hard to watch, but noted others in the area have it worse.
“At 6 a.m. this morning I was here, sitting and watching the water rise, watching everything that I worked hard for go down the tubes, down the drain,” he said.
“But it is what it is and we have to deal with it and take it as it comes.”
Winds gusted in excess of 130 km/h in the Wreckhouse area, but diminished slightly Wednesday morning reaching about 90 km/h, Barney said. He said the wind is expected to pick up again later Wednesday morning.
The brunt of the rainfall is confined to the southwest corner of the island, meaning the Port aux Basques area and as far east as La Poile can anticipate the storm to continue to soak the communities.
In a news release, the RCMP said Department of Transportation crews were working in the Codroy Valley areas to assess the damage.
‘All I could hear was pavement cracking’
Ryan Moore, who lives in Doyles, was driving along a stretch of roadway Tuesday night when the asphalt beneath his truck gave way.
“I was kind of in shock. [The] airbags and everything went off and I jumped out,” he said.
“I looked behind me and there was just a black hole behind me … all I could hear was pavement cracking, it was pitch black so I couldn’t really see what was going on.”
Moore said he had actually sold that truck earlier in the day. Now it’s a total write off.
He said he nearly made it across the culvert when it caved in, his front wheel breaking through and bouncing the truck back onto hard ground on the other side.
“I’ve been driving that road my entire life and something didn’t look right,” he said.
Moore is safe. He used the phone from a nearby neighbour’s house to call for a ride home. He said a tow truck should be able to remove his now abandoned vehicle from the road early Wednesday morning.
Ferry crossings cancelled
Meanwhile, Marine Atlantic ferry crossings between Port aux Basques and North Sydney, N.S., are cancelled on Wednesday because of the storm, leaving some passengers stranded who are trying to get home.
Jason Caron had been in Newfoundland for the last week, working construction on Walmart stores on the island. With the work completed, he was headed for home, until the ferry cancellations deflated his plan.
Now he’s unsure of when he’ll get to leave.
“We think maybe Tuesday will be possible, but we’re still waiting on a response from Marine Atlantic,” he said.
According to Marine Atlantic’s website, ferry crossings on Thursday could also be impacted by the storm. The company said the forecast will continue to be monitored and customers will be advised of any schedule changes.
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Source: CBC News