Nfld. & Labrador

'I haven't cried this much in a few years:' Western Newfoundland still reeling from weekend flooding

Crushed garages, flooded basements and 60-foot washouts in the roads are just a few of the things people in western Newfoundland will be coping with in the coming weeks.

Helicopter service begins Tuesday to transport people stranded in their towns due to washouts and floods

The muck and debris plunged down the hill and into the back of Mildred Hackett's garage, pushing her car out through the front door. (Coleen Connors/CBC)

Tanya Pike stands just in front of a pile of uprooted mud and earth taller than she is in Benoit's Cove.

It had all slid down the bank of land behind her mother's garage on Sunday night, with force enough to push her mother's car — a Honda CRV — right through the garage's front door.

Tanya Pike is thankful a landslide didn't take off the side of her mother's house. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

"I haven't cried this much in a few years," she said.

The call about the landslide came at 4:30 a.m. Sunday, after a weekend of flooding and washouts devastated many towns on the west side of the island.

The most heavily affected area spreads from Lark Harbour, where a crater said to be about 60 feet across and 15 feet deep has opened up in the road; to Hampton Junction through Corner Brook, where heavy floods prompted officials to call a state of emergency; and to Trout River, where some residents were on an evacuation order until Monday evening.

Many towns along Route 450, which heads west from Corner Brook along the Bay of Islands, were under states of emergency until Monday afternoon. Frenchman's Cove remained under a state of emergency Monday evening from the Bayview Club to Rattler Brook.

Route 450 itself is closed west from John's Beach due to several washouts.

Air services will be provided for people stranded by the road closures and washouts, with regular helicopters flying from Lark Harbour to Benoit's Cove beginning Tuesday.

'It's pretty devastating'

Pike, her family, and some friends spent Sunday taking apart the garage door to get the car out and salvaging what contents they could — the snow blower is safe and so are Hackett's winter tires.

"Aside from that everything is buried," she said. "It's pretty devastating."

Pike said her mother has been "a rock" throughout the whole ordeal. (Coleen Connors/CBC)

They also spent the day moving piles upon piles of the uprooted earth out of her mother's driveway before the cold temperatures set in and the mud froze up.

They did it all by hand — the backhoes in the area were busy tending to emergency situations caused by the flooding.

"I will thank God for wonderful friends and family," she said.

"They did all that work. They went looking for tarps. They got everything put back up. If it wasn't for friends and family, I don't know what we would have done."

Benoit's Cove Damage

5 years ago
Duration 1:52
A family in Benoit's Cove is digging out after the bank behind their home collapsed directly onto the back of their garage.

On Monday afternoon, with the help of a backhoe, they were at it again, digging trenches to get the water away from Hackett's house.

"The water was gushing all through the house and the deck was starting to sink," said Pike. "[We're] trying to divert the water away so there's no more flooding in the basement."

With the help of a backhoe, Pike and her family are digging trenches to get the water away from her mother's house. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Pike said she's concerned about all the other people in the area who have had their homes damaged by floods, too.

"People have a lot of their property, their belongings, their valuables, things destroyed by this thaw," she said.

"It's very sad."

'No way in, no way out'

Further west in Lark Harbour, residents are trapped in their town because of a massive crater in the road.

Lark Harbour Mayor Melanie Joyce told CBC's On The Go she thought the hole was about 15 feet deep and 60 feet across.

"We're cut off," she said. "There's no way in, there's no way out."

Work on that washout will be minimal, she said, until a road closure at John's Beach is resolved.

Officials are worried about what might be beneath this crack in the road near John's Beach. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

There, a deep depression and crack in the pavement runs across the road, and there is a lot of concern about what lies beneath the damage.

A long line of trucks were held up at the spot on Monday afternoon, waiting to head west to Lark Harbour to start work on the washout.

"It's going to be days, absolutely," she said. "It's going to be days."

These trucks were waiting at John's Beach Monday afternoon, where the road was closed because of damage. They're trying to get to Lark Harbour to fix a giant washout in the road. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

In the meantime, Joyce said four dialysis patients, a pregnant woman with a scheduled cesarian section and people with medical appointments were flown out of the community in a helicopter Monday.

From floodwaters to an ice rink

In Trout River, life was starting to get back to normal after the town lost power during the worst of the weather and residents along Riverside Drive were under evacuation order. That order was lifted Monday evening.

Ethan Brake and his brother had to use a rubber dingy to cross the flood waters to get to their home on Sunday.

"It was scary, it was washing out the driveway," he said.

On Monday, after a steep temperature drop, Brake and his brother were skating on the frozen water.

On the weekend, Ethan Brake and his brother were using a rubber dinghy to cross this area in Trout River to get home. On Monday, they were skating on it. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Though the rainfall seems to have peaked, water levels in the Humber River are still rising and officials are still keeping a close watch on the river in case ice upstream releases more water.

CBC's Ryan Snoddon explains it all in the video below.

Humber River Update

5 years ago
Duration 1:12
Ryan Snoddon shows us how water levels in the Humber River will be monitored.