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Water Today Title December 13, 2018

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Advisory of the Day



This story is brought to you in part by Lawson Mills Biomass Solutions Ltd

After a heavy rainfall accompanied by warm temperatures that caused snow to melt, Newfoundland's west coast experienced a large amount of flooding over the weekend. The large amounts of water caused mudslides, several road and highway closures, broken water mains, power outages, and precautionary boil water orders; eventually leading to a state of emergency being declared in several communities.

The City of Corner Brook declared a state of emergency Saturday at 3:45pm "due to heavy rainfall and snow melting, infrastructure damage, and an overwhelmed municipal drainage system." They announced the activation of the city's emergency response plan and several road and bridge closures were in place due to flooding, high water levels, and infrastructure damage. Mayor Jim Parsons assured residents that "all available personnel are working to try and mitigate further damage. For the time being, we ask residents to stay off the streets in affected areas, if possible and stay safe."

The state of emergency was lifted at 1pm on Sunday as "issues of heavy rainfall and snow melting, infrastructure damage, and an overwhelmed municipal drainage system have receded in Corner Brook." Main Street Bridge was reopened during the day but the other half a dozen roads that had seen closures remained closed until 10:45pm.

As of Monday morning the city was advising of an emergency water outage and road closure on Beothuck Crescent that would last 8 to 10 hours in order to make repairs to the water system. The Precautionary Boil Water Orders issued on Saturday will remain in place until all necessary repairs have been made. This applies to businesses and residents on Elizabeth Street #'s 1 to 75, Philip Drive to the intersection of Gushue Place, Gushue Place, Beothuck Crescent, Charles Street.

A state of emergency that was declared for Trout River on Saturday was lifted Monday at 2:15pm. Town Clerk Maureen Barnes Gushue told this reporter that residents of the Riverside Drive area that were evacuated Sunday night due to landslides have been allowed to return. The road toward that area has been reduced to one lane and some homes have basement flooding and minor property damage but no one was injured. Gushue said "the school zone is still shutdown due to the road shoulder and Transportation will be fixing it, school will be closed until wednesday." She added that "we are hoping we have everything under control."

The Town of Humber Arm South declared their own state of emergency roughly 2 hours after the City of Corner Brook. The town consists of four communities; Halfway Point, Benoit's Cove, John's Beach and Frenchman's Cove. The statement read "we are now working on getting water restored in Frenchman's Cove and getting lift stations for the sewer cleaned from silt." It also suggested that people take photos of any property damaged by the flood. As of Monday afternoon the state of emergency had been lifted in all communities except Frenchman's Cove, the road leading into it also remains closed.

A provincial joint statement issued by the departments of Municipal Affairs and Environment, Transportation and Works, Health and Community Services read "the Provincial Government has been working hard with emergency management partners to coordinate response efforts and ensure public safety in light of the heavy rains and flooding affecting roads and municipal infrastructure on the west coast of the island."

It further specified that "the Medical Communications Centre of the Western Memorial Regional Hospital has been activated and officials have been in contact with ambulance service providers." The Western Memorial Regional Hospital is located in Corner Brook and serves the 78 000 people in several communities throughout western Newfoundland. Corner Brook senior residences North Shore Manor, Lohnes Complex, and Mountainview Estates were all unaffected by the flooding.

As of Monday afternoon, some parts of the TransCanada Highway (TCH) were still heavily impacted. Newfoundland Transportation and Works warned that drivers should expect delays between Deer Lake and Corner Brook as only one lane is open. Drivers are advised to stay off route 450 between Frenchman's Cove and Saltwater Road and roads are closed at John's Beach and Lark Harbour. Although Mill Brook Bridge is now open to one lane, there is a general warning to avoid the road to Trout River due to flooding.

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