More rain heading for southwestern Newfoundland less than a week after damaging storm

·2 min read

CHANNEL-PORT AUX BASQUES, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is bracing for another dump of rain on the province's southwestern tip, where residents and workers are still mopping up from a massive storm last week that damaged sections of a main highway.

In an alert Monday, Environment Canada said the Port aux Basques area and a nearby stretch of Newfoundland's southern coast could expect up to 80 millimetres of rain beginning Monday evening and into Tuesday morning. Areas with higher elevation could be soaked by up to 100 mm, the federal agency said.

The provincial government also issued a statement Monday, saying officials are keeping an eye on the situation.

"Given the area is still recovering from a record rainfall event from last week and the heavy rain anticipated, municipalities and local service districts should review their emergency management plans and ensure infrastructure such as roads, ditches and drains are clear of debris," the statement said.

Southwestern Newfoundland is recovering from a rainstorm last week that dumped about 165 mm over two days, setting a new record for two-day rainfall in the area. The rushing waters tore through four sections of the Trans-Canada Highway, cutting off the town of Port aux Basques and neighbouring communities from the rest of the province.

The provincial government said Monday that repair work on the highway was ongoing and that traffic was expected to resume on two of the four damaged sections later in the day.

Much of Newfoundland's food and supplies arrives via ferry at the Port aux Basques terminal, which was left inaccessible because of the highway damage. Marine Atlantic announced Thursday it would open up its seasonal terminal at the Port of Argentia, about an 850-kilometre drive east of Port aux Basques. In the meantime, the Canadian Coast Guard has been flying in supplies to Port aux Basques and neighbouring towns via helicopter.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada spokeswoman Janice Woodford said the coast guard delivered about 180 kilograms of medical supplies to the Port aux Basques hospital Sunday morning. She said that later in the day, a helicopter dropped off nearly 550 kg of milk to the community of St. Andrews, which was also cut off by the washouts.

In its advisory on Monday, Environment Canada warned the oncoming rain could bring flash floods and pooling on roads.

"The ground, already near saturation, has little ability to absorb further rainfall," the agency said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2021.

Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press

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