Water gushed through three open gates at a dam in Deer Lake, as the town prepared for damage from the highest water levels in the western Newfoundland area in three decades.

Deer Lake Power opened the gates Friday at its overflowing reservoir, to deal with enormous rainfalls that have swollen waterways.

Mayor Dean Ball told CBC News that the levels on the Humber River are the highest he has seen in many years, largely due to melting snow and rain over the last few weeks. He said Friday morning the heavy rain had continued overnight.

Ball said while it is necessary for Deer Lake Power to release water at its dam, there may be consequences for homes in low-lying areas.

"You have sheds and garages that are in backyards that will be affected," he said.

On Thursday, town staff went door-to-door to notify about 85 homeowners of flooding risks.

"Our true concerns are with our residents now, that everybody will be safe. If they're notified, at least people are aware now to watch and keep a close eye on their property and the water level."

Ball said that while people should keep a close eye on levels in the immediate hours after Deer Lake Power opens the gates Friday, they should be aware the gates could be open for as long as five to seven days.

He said if the move does not solve the problem, more gates at the power station's reservoir may have to be opened.