Nfld. & Labrador

Avalon in 'uncharted territory' as rain and flood risks follow record snowfall

Messy weather on the way for snowstruck eastern Newfoundland has meteorologists warning about the potential for localized flooding.

Up to 15 mm and above-zero temperatures threaten Avalon as region gets back on its feet

Conditions are right for localized flooding as rain and warm temperatures will hit the Avalon Monday, as they did in January 2019. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

Messy weather on the way for snowstruck eastern Newfoundland has meteorologists warning about the potential for localized flooding.

"We're kind of in uncharted territory right now," said Wanda Batten of Environment Canada's weather office in Gander. 

"With those kind of snowfall amounts on the ground and rain moving over it, people are at risk."

Batten cautioned that five to 10 millimetres of rain in metro St. John's, and up to 15 millimetres in the southern portion of the Avalon Peninsula, could result in waterlogged roads and homes.

Temperatures hovering a few degrees above zero, plus the sheer volume of snow on the ground — about 115 centimetres — will add to the risk, she said.

She encouraged residents to ensure their drains are cleared of snow.

Other parts of the island haven't been spared. A rainfall warning is also in effect along the south coast of Newfoundland, with 20 to 30 millimetres of rain expected over the Burin Peninsula.

The messy weather comes as metro St. John's is still recovering from Jan. 17's record-smashing blizzard. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

Driving conditions on the island's west coast also deteriorated Monday morning, with sheets of ice covering stretches of highway near Deer Lake and Pasadena.

A highway travel advisory was lifted around 9 a.m., but Marble Mountain ski resort announced it's remaining closed for the day due to the freeze-thaw cycle overnight, calling conditions on the slopes "extremely unsafe."

Cleanup continues 

The messy weather comes as metro St. John's is still recovering from Jan. 17's record-smashing blizzard.

"It's not going to be a normal day," said Mayor Danny Breen. "There's still a lot of issues out there."

Breen said staff are working around the clock to clear up city streets, and a parking ban is still in effect.

Five to 10 millimetres of rain in metro St. John's, and up to 15 millimetres in the southern portion of the Avalon Peninsula, could result in waterlogged roads and homes. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

The mayor pleaded with drivers to proceed slowly around the city, and police say patrols are watching for dangerous driving in the area.

While high school and university students in the St. John's area are heading back to class, elementary schools will remain closed, with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District expected to announce Monday afternoon when those will reopen.

Students at L'École Rocher-du-Nord in St. John's were being sent home due to lack of heating in the building.

Metrobus is up and running after a week off the roads. Fares are waived for the next two weeks to encourage ridership.

Mail delivery in the area also begins today, with Canada Post announcing it's enacting a "recovery plan" and Monday will see "measured delivery."

Priority will be given to "socio-economic cheques, parcels and packets," the statement said. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Malone Mullin is a reporter in St. John's. She previously worked at CBC Toronto and CBC Vancouver.

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