Nfld. & Labrador

Leslie cleanup in Newfoundland kicks into gear

Thousands of people in eastern Newfoundland still have no electrical power, as crews and homeowners worked to clean up debris left by tropical storm Leslie.


10 years ago
Duration 0:33
Submitted by Lloyd Pretty. Scenes of high winds caused by tropical storm Leslie

Thousands of people in eastern Newfoundland still have no electrical power, as crews and homeowners worked to clean up debris left by tropical storm Leslie.

Thirteen different schools were unable to open Wednesday, a day after Leslie plowed through Newfoundland, ripping apart power lines and collapsing some unfinished houses like stacks of cards.

Newfoundland Power said Wednesday afternoon that about 3,500 customers on the Avalon Peninsula were without power, including about 1,000 in the St. John's area. About 10,000 households had been reconnected since early Wednesday morning.

The utility planned to restore service to its feeder lines on Wednesday, said communications official Michelle Coughlan.

"Our main focus is to get those main feeders back on," Coughlan told CBC News.

"Our goal is by the end of the day to have those main feeders back on, but of course people will continue to come on as the repairs are made and we're bringing those lines back on to the system."

Newfoundland Power was hoping to have most remaining customers back on the grid by Wednesday night. But the company acknowledged that a few hundred may not have power restored until Friday.

Leslie — an 800-kilometre-wide system that finished its journey through Newfoundland as a post-tropical storm — was powerful enough to knock out all power services on the Avalon Peninsula on Tuesday morning. Most customers were reconnected during the afternoon and evening.

Leslie was no match for 2010's Hurricane Igor, which followed a similar path, but was damaging all the same, tearing down power lines, pushing over trucks and ripping trees from the ground.

Leslie's winds peaked at about 137 km/h.

Emergency Services Minister Kevin O'Brien said while the value of damages caused by Leslie are still being calculated, the impact of the storm was fortunately less than it could have been.

"We fared very well," said O'Brien, adding that the government's reveamped emergency communications system worked smoothly during the brunt of the storm.

Flooding on Newfoundland's west coast, which was worst on Monday as huge amounts of moisture pushed into the island as Leslie roared north, likely caused the most expensive damage to government infrastructure.

Ferries return to service

Improving weather conditions allowed Marine Atlantic, which began cancelling crossings between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on Monday, to resume normal service. The disruption affected hundreds of individuals, as well as commercial traffic that included food headed for stores across the province.

Several neighbourhoods in the St. John's area, as well as a number of communities in the rest of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula — including Argentia, Avondale and Branch — were without power early Wednesday.

Newfoundland Power was faced with a patchwork of problems, sometimes down to the street level, where torn power lines needed to be repaired.

Leslie left behind some spectacular damage, too, including a Corvette that was crushed by its garage.