Power outages, long list of repairs after N.L. wind storm

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Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has ended its power warning, with a unit at its Holyrood generating station fully back online.

The power utility issued a request noon Sunday, asking customers on the Avalon Peninsula to conserve energy as it slowly brought Unit 1 back on line. Demand had been approaching the system’s full capacity, but around 6:15 p.m. Hydro announced the unit was back in service and ended the warning.

There are still 8,600 customers without power, after a storm with powerful winds knocked out power lines, ripped siding and roofs off homes and overturned a truck.

Among the customers without power is St. John’s airport, which is operating on backup power. Desk agents at the airport are wearing parkas because of the lack of heat and baggage carousels are out of service.

Airport on backup power

The St. John’s airport is without heat and full electricity and is operating on backup power. (Peter Cowan/CBC)

Some traffic lights throughout the St. John’s area are flashing, or missing completely.

St. John’s Coun. Danny Breen said Sunday there are 72 intersections in St. John’s with traffic lights that are either not working or down completely. While some damaged lights can be repaired, the city will have to replace about 140 lights, but only has 30 to 40 spares on hand.

Because of the number of intersections missing lights, the provincial government announced staggered opening times for provincial and municipal government offices Monday morning.

Red Cliff house on its side

A house blown into its side in Red Cliff, during Saturday’s extreme winds. (Elizabeth Yeoman/Facebook)

Newfoundland Power is still listing several power outages in the St. John’s area, Whitbourne region and on the Burin Peninsula.

The website lists expected restoration time for customers in the St. John’s metro region, and St. Stephen’s and Peter’s River, as 6 p.m. and St. Bride’s at 8 p.m. Other outages still have no estimates to restore service.

Michelle Coughlan, a spokeswoman with Newfoundland Power, said some isolated outages for individual customers are more challenging, and some people might be without power into Monday.

Overnight crews made “really good progress” doing repairs, she said, and the majority of people should have power back by suppertime.

Bell Island waves crashing wind

Waves crashing on the wharf of Bell Island on Saturday. (Donovan Taplin/Twitter)

“Wires down, broken poles, debris in power lines, so our crews are focused on those main lines for most of the day,” she said.

The five main lines in the St. John’s area are the priority, before crews will work to repair the isolated outages.

“We really want to let them know that there are still customers who may be out overnight and into tomorrow, once we get into that isolated stuff,” said Coughlan.

A number of community buildings opened their doors as warming centres for people without power on the Northeast Avalon Saturday evening and into Sunday.

Mattress against tree St. John's winds

A discarded mattress blown against a tree in St. John’s on Saturday. (Facebook)

Blizzard warning

Meanwhile, on Newfoundland’s west coast and in coastal Labrador, a blizzard warning is in effect for Sunday.

The Department of Transportation and Works has closed a number of roads due to stormy conditions, saying it’s too dangerous to operate road equipment.

Drivers in St. Lewis, Red Bay, Cartwright and surrounding areas are advised to stay off the roads.

Flurries and snow squalls, paired with winds gusting to 90 km/h, will make for near zero visibility, with conditions expected to improve through the day.

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Power outages, long list of repairs after N.L. wind storm

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