ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Residents in much of Atlantic Canada are bracing for a day of drenching rain and punishing winds as tropical storm Leslie prepares to come ashore.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre said Leslie was expected to barrel ashore in Newfoundland as a “very strong post-tropical storm” with heavy rain and potentially damaging winds.
In its bulletin issued at 3 a.m. ET, the centre said Leslie was about 400 kilometres southwest of Argentia, NL and moving north-northeast at about 65 kilometres an hour with near hurricane force winds of about 110 kilometres an hour.
The centre said “Leslie’s centre will likely be making landfall near the Burin Peninsula around mid-morning local time,” but cautioned that its effects would be far-reaching.
Tropical storm warnings and hurricane watches were in effect for parts of southern and eastern Newfoundland. Much of the region is also under a rainfall warning, which also covers eastern Nova Scotia, Cape Breton and eastern Prince Edward Island.
The system already drenched parts of Nova Scotia, P.E.I and Newfoundland, with some areas getting well in excess of 100 millimetres of rain. The centre’s bulletin said some areas may receive 150 millimetres or more before the rain eased off during the day.
The centre said eight-metre waves were expected along Newfoundland’s southeast coast, particularly Placentia Bay. Marine Atlantic has cancelled ferry crossings between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland because of the weather warnings.
Swollen by heavy rain, two Nova Scotia rivers spilled their banks Monday as several dikes gave way, leading to flooding in the Truro and Bible Hill areas.
Dozens of homes and businesses were flooded, including 40 homes on one street.
On the Port au Port Peninsula, off Newfoundland’s west coast, about 40 millimetres of rain on Monday swelled streams that flow down hills along its southern coast. Water swamped parts of Route 460, the main highway, as provincial transportation officials advised that the peninsula was inaccessible with no alternate route.
Strong winds are expected to rake most of the Maritimes Tuesday, with the strongest gusts of up to 120 km/h likely to be confined to eastern Newfoundland. The centre cautioned that tree damage, power outages and minor property damage would likely result from the strong winds.
Much-smaller hurricane Michael is well to the east of Leslie and is expected dissipate east of the Grand Banks over the next day or two.
Many Newfoundlanders hunkering down ahead of the storm were hit hard by hurricane Igor two years ago.
One of them, Patricia Devine of Clarenville in southeastern Newfoundland, said Monday that she is ”very nervous” and ”saying a lot of prayers.”
Devine was among many residents who spent Monday stocking up on food and water and ensuring they had flashlights, batteries and emergency numbers at hand.
But the Halifax-based hurricane centre said Leslie isn’t expected to be quite as ferocious as Igor, which caused about $125 million in damages and left some parts of Newfoundland without power for several days.