The current path of Tropical Storm Leslie has prompted Environment Canada to issue a number of watches and warnings for the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Provincial Government, through Fire and Emergency Services - Newfoundland and Labrador (FES-NL), is encouraging all citizens to be prepared for flooding, power outages, and other potential impacts. A hurricane information hot button has been mobilized on the main government website with the latest Provincial Government information.
As of this morning (Sept. 10), a cold front ahead of the tropical storm is bringing significant rainfall to the west coast of the province and will potentially generate some flash flooding conditions. Tropical Storm Leslie is expected to have both direct and indirect impact on Newfoundland and Labrador and is forecast to bring with it between 100 and150 millimetres of rain and winds gusting between 100 to 140 kilometres an hour. Leslie could regain hurricane strength before it arrives in Newfoundland and Labrador, but is expected to merge this evening with the cold front, bringing additional heavy rains.
Forecasters predict the central, western and northern portions of the island will receive the bulk of the rain, while the east coast and the Avalon Peninsula is expected to see substantial rain and significantly high winds. The province will begin to see the system’s effects this evening (Sept 10), with anticipated arrival Tuesday morning (Sept. 11).
Rains can be expected to create hydroplaning conditions for much of the province’s roadways. Extreme caution is advised for those having to travel throughout the next 24 hours and a car-emergency kit is strongly recommend for those on the road.
The amount of rain and high winds in the forecast means residents and communities must be diligent in emergency preparations to ensure minimal impact.
FES-NL made contact late last week with municipalities to advise them to take pre-cautionary measures, to review their emergency management plans and ensure all the proper local contact information is in place. FES-NL staff and officials with Environment Canada will brief municipalities directly through a conference call today to help communities anticipate what is to be expected in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Residents and municipal officials should assess their individual situations to determine the steps they can take to ensure their safety and security during this weather event and continue to closely monitor the forecast. Municipalities have been advised to ensure that all storm sewers, culverts, bridges, and drains are free from debris and that emergency personnel are available should the need arise.
Some important tips to keep in mind before and during weather events:
· Be aware of all local emergency numbers;
· Prepare and maintain an emergency kit – be ready to cope on your own for at least 72 hours, to allow first responders to help those in urgent need;
· Understand your insurance policy and potential coverage for fire and emergency situations;
· Ensure sump pumps are in working order;
· Keep all drains free from debris, clean out window and door wells, keep windows firmly closed;
· Safely remove dead tree branches from any trees which could pose a hazard or threat;
· Ensure all patio furniture, barbeque equipment and yard tools are secured to avoid potential damage in high winds;
· Secure any and all exposed marine equipment and vessels;
· Stay inside a safe location for the duration of the storm if at all possible;
· Ensure all cell phones are charged and fresh batteries available for a portable radio in the event of a power outage;
· Cordless phones will not work in a power outage, therefore a hard-lined phone for the home could also be of benefit;
· In the event of basement flooding, ensure the power is shut off at the main breaker before stepping into the water to avoid the possibility of electrocution. If you are unsure, call a licensed electrician;
· If you become aware of excessive flooding on streets or blocked culverts or drains, contact local officials to advise them of the situation;
· Should you notice downed power lines in your area, do not touch or attempt to move, but instead advise your utility provider immediately;
· If a household includes someone with a medical condition, mobility issues, or other special needs, plan for their specific requirements. Residents are asked to check on any neighbours living alone that they are aware of, to ensure their personal safety;
· Ensure pets that are normally kept outdoors are safe from wind and rain.
If an emergency requiring assistance occurs, residents are reminded to contact their local fire department and/or police for assistance. If flooding occurs, residents should contact their municipality. Should communities become unable to cope with local emergencies, they may contact FES-NL for assistance.
Residents and officials should keep the following emergency numbers close at hand:
· FES-NL – 1-888-395-5611
· Royal Newfoundland Constabulary – 709-729-8000
· RCMP – 1-800-709-7267 or 709-772-5400
· Newfoundland Power - 1-800-474-5711 or 1-888-491-5066
· Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro – 1-888-764-9376
Citizens are asked to exercise extreme caution as this weather system approaches and throughout the course of this event.
The latest information on Tropical Storm Leslie can be found at: www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/hurricane/statements_e.html
The latest on highway information during Tropical Storm Leslie: www.roads.gov.nl.ca/winterdriving/