By RYAN KING
SOUTHWEST COAST — Heavy rainfall is expected in Channel-Port aux Basques and surrounding areas starting today. Southwestern Newfoundland can expect total rainfall that may exceed 200 mm beginning Tuesday morning and persist through Wednesday evening. In areas of heaviest rainfall, the amount of rain may exceed 200 mm, and flooding and road washouts may occur, particularly in areas near water bodies such as rivers, streams, creeks, and culverts.
Residents are also advised that the heavy rain may cause water buildup on roads. The rain may also impact visibility, so drivers are advised to turn on vehicle lights and keep a safe distance from other drivers and to not approach washouts, especially near rivers, streams, creeks, and culverts.
There is also a wind warning in effect for the Channel-Port aux Basques area overnight tonight through Wednesday. There will be southeasterly winds that will gust up to 80 km/h this evening, increasing to 100 km/h overnight, and increasing to 110 km/h on Tuesday morning.
In the Wreckhouse, there is a wind warning in effect for this evening through Wednesday. There will be gusts this evening at 100 km/h, increasing to 120 km/h overnight, and increasing on Tuesday with maximum gusts expected at 150 km/h.
Marine Atlantic noted that vessels departed this morning, but the rain may impact services. They had issued an alert to customers on Friday advising them of the approaching weather system and encouraged those who could travel earlier to contact their Reservation Team to make alternative arrangements.
“With the current forecast, it appears we could have schedule impacts between this evening and Thursday. Our Captains continue to monitor the forecast and we will provide customers with as much notice as possible should crossings be impacted. With the departure of our vessels this morning, our lots are currently clear. With cancellations tonight and possibly throughout the week, we recognize that commercial traffic will begin to build and we will work with our customers to minimize the impact of this inconvenience. Our impacted reserved passengers will receive red alert notices and will be re-booked to the next available crossing,” said Darrell Mercer, Corporate Communication Officer with Marine Atlantic.
Town Manager Leon MacIsaac explained that the town is preparing for the upcoming rainfall.
“We’re checking all runoff points, ditches, and culverts to make sure there’s no obstructions and on their outfalls,” said MacIsaac.
He also advised residents to make preparations by securing items that are typically left outside year round.
“They should secure any loose items on their property. Remove and secure any items that can be disturbed by the high wind. We are expected to receive in excess of 200 mm of rain, which surpasses the 1 in 100 year storm estimates, and typical storm sewer systems are not installed to handle that volume of water,” said MacIsaac. “There’s a high likelihood of road washouts and that for that kind of rainfall, should we receive that amount.”