Nfld. & Labrador

Water levels dip in Deer Lake, N.L., holding off possible evacuation

After Deer Lake, N.L. residents were advised to prepare for an evacuation Tuesday afternoon, water levels dipped slightly and the town is holding on.

Mayor hoping to get through the night without calling for residents to flee

Ice was building up in the Humber River near Deer Lake Tuesday morning, as the area continues to clean up following excessive flooding over the weekend. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Water levels dipped slightly in Deer Lake, N.L., late Tuesday, holding off the possibility that some residents would be forced to evacuate the town's west end — if only for the night, said the mayor.

"Right now, we're feeling we're going ot get through tonight," Deer Lake Mayor Dean Ball told CBC News Tuesday night.

Monitoring stations reported that water levels had dropped slightly on Tuesday night, slightly easing concerns of flooding after a day spent preparing to flee. Town officials sent an advisory Tuesday afternoon asking residents of the west end of the town to pack up and be prepared to leave their homes quickly.

They also went door to door Tuesday evening to talk to residents and make sure everyone was aware of the situation. 

The advisory came just three days after floodwaters rushed western Newfoundland and caused major damage.

Ball stressed that the drop in water levels was slight and that things could change easily.

And if they do, he said, "everything is ready to go."

Waters steadily rising

River ice had been moving smoothly into Deer Lake, as was seen near the Nicholsville Bridge Monday afternoon.

However, that changed Tuesday morning, when ice started jamming up on a small island at the mouth of the Humber River.

"We weren't expecting this," Ball told CBC earlier Tuesday. 

"I guess overnight there were edges that broke off up through the river area, and it's causing grief this morning."

Ball said town workers are trying to figure out what to do to clear the ice jam and prevent flooding. He said the situation is not life-threatening, but eight or 10 homes could be at risk of flooding. The town is asking people to stay away from the area, he added.

4 communities still under state of emergency

Communities affected by last weekend's flooding in western Newfoundland are still assessing the damage, and how much it will cost.

Heavy rains and unseasonably high temperatures caused several road washouts and flooding to public and private property Friday night and Saturday.

The basement of Robert and Nadine Delaney's home in Pasadena, seen here Saturday morning, was flooded with more than an foot of water Friday night. (Submitted by Nadine Delaney)

Trout River, York Harbour, Lark Harbour and Woody Point were all still under a state of emergency late Tuesday afternoon.

In Trout River, the state of emergency has been lifted, but the town is still dealing with the aftermath of severe flooding that surrounded many homes and buildings in the Northern Peninsula community.

The small community of Trout River is ramping up rebuilding efforts following a severe winter storm over the weekend. 5:49

The Trans-Canada Highway at Little Rapids was still being repaired, though traffic can pass through on a temporary access point. 

Route 450 at John's Beach has one lane open for heavy equipment, but repairs are still ongoing there and at Rattler Brook in Humber Arm South.

Repairs are ongoing on a bridge at Rattler Brook in the Bay of Islands, which connects the communities of Lark Harbour and York Harbour with the rest of the province. (Twitter/@TW_GovNL)

Gudie Hutchings, the Liberal MP who represents the region, said communities with significant damage should have no trouble getting access to federal disaster funding.

Hutchings, who has lived in western Newfoundland her entire life, said she's never seen flood damage in the region like this week.

"Trust me, from what I've seen over the weekend the province will have no problem meeting the [cost] thresholds and will be able to help," she told CBC's Here and Now.

Federal funding

Federal funding would come from the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangement program. Funding is approved after communities report to the Newfoundland and Labrador government, which then does an assessment and approaches the federal government to work out payback.

Hutchings said her office has been busy taking calls from residents with damage to their property, and her staff have been helping connect residents with the appropriate authorities.

She said while repair is underway, it could take months to fully assess damage that's not obviously visible, and that people should be aware that not all areas have been assessed and could still be dangerous.

A helicopter was being used to bring medications to people stranded in the Humber Arm South region, and a post on social media shows at person had to be airlifted Monday out to get kidney dialysis treatment.

Helicopter service was delayed on Tuesday due to low clouds in the area, and the Department of Transportation and Works said those who may need to use the helicopter service should consult its website for updates.

Long Range Mountains MP Gudie Hutchings says federal funding is likely to come for communities dealing with damage from this weekend's flooding. (CBC)

According to Hutchings, things are still tough for people in several communities that are cut off in the Bay of Islands and the Bonne Bay areas.

"There was a lack of medication for some and thankfully the coast guard was able to get in and help out there," she said. "The coast guard has a helicopter in that area, helping out getting people back and forth to medical appointments."

Hockey Day in Corner Brook

The City of Corner Brook is still assessing the extent of the damage and scrambling to get ready for the Hockey Day in Canada events scheduled for this weekend.

The warm weather and flooding over the weekend destroyed the ice on the outdoor rinks the city was preparing for the event, but Mayor Jim Parsons said workers are rebuilding the ice surfaces as quickly as possible.

"Teams have been putting water on our rink. It is lined, so we don't lose the water and fingers crossed, we will have a skating rink or two skating rinks by Saturday," Parsons told CBC News.

Marble Mountain Ski Resort, usually in full swing for the season by now, lost most of its snow as a result of flooding and high temperatures over the weekend. (CBC)

Falling temperatures should help with the ice-making effort, as well as for snowmaking at Marble Mountain, which also saw significant damage over the weekend.

"Obviously when you have this kind of weather it's not good for your ski hill," said Parsons. "But not all is lost. [Marble Mountain official Tony Abbott] has got a plan to get things up and running very soon."