By: Jaymie White
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
SOUTHWEST COAST — The Provincial Government is currently monitoring the forecast on the weather system that is enroute, which is anticipated to affect the majority of the province between Friday and Sunday this weekend, Jan. 13 to 15.
The following statement was released on behalf of the departments of Justice and Public Safety and Transportation and Infrastructure:
“Environment Canada is warning of heavy rain, snow, or freezing rain for the majority of the island of Newfoundland. The highest amounts of rain are forecasted to reach more than 100 millimeters along the south coast (Connaigre-West), as well as the west coast. The Northern Peninsula and Labrador Straits regions could see a significant snowfall with up to 30 centimeters, followed by freezing rain in some areas.
“We encourage residents to follow guidance provided by officials, and to monitor the forecast for the most up-to-date information. Regional forecast information is available from Environment Canada.
“Municipalities and local service districts should ensure infrastructure such as roads, ditches and drains are clear of debris and appropriate provisions are made for the delivery of services during anticipated weather events.
“Residents and communities are asked to use caution and to take measures to ensure personal safety, and if possible, clear fire hydrants of snow in case of emergency. It is important that residents have the supplies they need, including food, water and medications for at least 72 hours in the event of adverse weather conditions affecting travel. Please visit Be Prepared for more information on emergency preparedness.
“The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure anticipates freezing rain leading to potentially hazardous driving conditions on some highways.
“The department recommends motorists:
Check nl511.ca or the 511 smartphone app for highway driving conditions, highway camera images, and the Provincial Plow Tracker before travelling;
Check the latest Environment Canada forecasts; and
Slow down and drive to conditions.
“Details on ferry schedules can be found on nl511.ca, the 511 app or by calling 1-833-NLFERRY (653-3779).”
With infrastructure damage remaining after Fiona, MHA Andrew Parsons (Burgeo – LaPoile) said it’s understandable that residents on the Southwest coast in particular would be worried.
“Given the fact of everything we’ve gone through, I think everybody is on extra-high alert any time there is a possibility of an adverse weather system now. I know locally, just hearing there’s going to be weather causes a lot more angst than perhaps ever before,” said Parsons. “I’ve been in touch with the Premier’s office, I’ve been in touch with fire and emergency services, so along with the usual advice that’s provided when it comes to possible weather situations, I will say that we’re aware, we are prepared, we want people to be prepared and now all we can do is wait and see how it turns out. We hope for the best but know that everybody will be on high alert if there is anything negative that happens.”
Port aux Basques Town Manager, Leon MacIsaac, said the town has extra staff on just in case.
“We are just preparing for anything. What is anticipated over the weekend is excessive runoff. It’s supposed to be anywhere between 100 and 150 mm between Friday evening and Monday morning, so it’s hard to say exactly how much we’ll get. It’s going to start off as snowfall and transition to rain tomorrow afternoon or late tomorrow night, and then rain continuously until Monday-Tuesday.”
A work crew was near the damaged outfall on Big Bridge Hill yesterday morning, and the last time heavy rainfall came down, it flooded homes near the area, but there are no current concerns about further damage.
“It should be okay for now, but we are making plans to have them all replaced as per federal regulations,”
Overall, there are no significant worries about the impending weather.
“We’re not concerned. There is no high wind or storm surge expected with this system, so we should be fine.”