Nfld. & Labrador

Hurricane Gonzalo douses Newfoundland, moves offshore

Hurricane Gonzalo pushed away from Newfoundland on Sunday leaving sunny skies and warm temperatures, but not before it drenched the southern and eastern parts of the island.

Region is spared the brunt of the storm as it veers northeast

Hurricane Gonzalo pushed away from Newfoundland on Sunday leaving sunny skies and warm temperatures, but not before it drenched the southern and eastern parts of the island. 

Gonzalo, which had ramped up to a Category 4 hurricane when it attacked Bermuda, was down to just a Category 1 storm as it rounded the southeastern tip of Newfoundland. ​

The fast-moving storm was clocked at 140 km/h early Sunday, although its speed was dropping as it moved into the Grand Banks before heading to the main of the Atlantic Ocean. 

By 10 a.m. NT, the centre of the storm was east of St. John's, having never touched the island. 

Gonzalo's track since Saturday veered to the east, meaning that people in eastern and southern Newfoundland are being spared the brunt of the storm. 

Heavy rain fell across the Avalon Peninsula. Estimates from Environment Canada recorded over 50 mm in St. John's, 58.4 mm in Port de Grave and 60.4 mm in Ochre Pit Cove.

"Although that [rate] only lasts briefly, those are some very, very heavy downpours," said CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon.

"We have three to four hours of a solid soaking here. [But] it could be a whole lot worse, if that track had been to the west."

Environment Canada clocked land wind gusts at 89 km/hr from Bell Island, and 108 km/hr at Cape Pine. 

The storm has had little impact at St. John's International Airport, with almost all flights on schedule. 

Road travel, though, was a riskier prospect, with numerous pools of water reported in St. John's and outside before the sun came up. 

"Any time when you have extreme amounts of water on the roads, like we have this morning, [you] can end up hydroplaning," said Sgt. Dave Hutchings of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. 

"The only reason to be out is if you absolutely have to be out. It's not a good morning for a drive — you're just leaving yourself to the possibility of being involved in a collision."  

Water levels receded Sunday morning as the storm moved away, although there was localized flooding in parking lots and on some streets. 

Some of the flooding was due to blocked drains. The City of St. John's said it had crews working overnight cleaning storm drains of leaves that had been blown from nearby trees. 

Worst of the storm felt offshore

Newfoundland Power said an outage affecting a neighbourhood in the Portugal Cove Road area of St. John's was because of overhead line damage due to the weather. About 100 customers were affected during the temporary outage. 

A few events were cancelled for Sunday, although the Cape to Cabot road race, a gruelling run that takes participants from Cape Spear to the top of Signal Hill, went ahead despite the heavy rain. 

Gonzalo pushed warm air and humidity into the island, with early-morning temperatures in the teens in eastern Newfoundland. Blue skies and warm temperatures are expected to cover the area once Gonzalo pushes further into the ocean. 

Snoddon noted that the worst of the storm was felt far offshore. 

Gonzalo's path was taking it through the Grand Banks, including through the area where offshore oil is produced. The operators of the Hibernia fixed platform, as well as the mobile Terra Nova and SeaRose platforms, said they did not plan to move any of the workers. 

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