UPDATE: Emergency Services warning of storm surges

High winds, heavy rainfall forecast for many areas of the province

Published on February 4, 2013
An Environment Canada map shows areas of the province in red where wind and rainfall warnings have been issued.

Fire and Emergency Services Newfoundland and Labrador (FES-NL) is advising residents on the west coast and Northern Peninsula of anticipated storm surge activity throughout the next 24 to 48 hours.

According to Environment Canada, high waves are expected to develop in the range of eight to 10 meters and increased water levels are also to be expected along the coastline.

Officials say regions on the west coast and Northern Peninsula are of concern, including areas north of Port Saunders, particularly Savage Cove. FES-NL staff are making direct contact with communities in these areas to ensure they are aware of the impending weather conditions.

 The storm surge conditions are expected to coincide with high tide, which may produce higher storm surge levels.

FES-NL says residents are advised to use extreme caution during high tide, which occurs between 7 and 7:30  a.m. and p.m.

Strong winds are also expected to produce pounding surf and strong wave activity. Emergency management officials advise that visibility may be impacted which could pose significant risk for people who journey close to coastal areas.

 Environment Canada says conditions will persist for most areas into Tuesday evening before tapering off.


Earlier story

Environment Canada has issued a warning that strong winds, gusting to 100 kilometres an hour or higher are expected across all of Newfoundland today.

A rainfall warning, with amounts ranging from 25 to 40 millimetres, has also been issued for many areas, including St. John's and vicinity. The highest rainfall amounts are expected to occur over the area between Burgeo and the Burin Peninsula.

The weather office says a developing low pressure system northeast of Sable Island will continue to rapidly intensify into a major winter storm as it crosses southwestern Newfoundland this afternoon and then moves into central Labrador late tonight.

A strong southeasterly flow will spread over the island today ahead of the low with gusts between 80 and 110 kms/h. As the low moves away tonight an even stronger southwesterly flow will push across the island with gusts reaching 100 to 120 kms/h, and possibly higher over some exposed coastal areas.

The strongest winds are expected to affect areas adjacent to the Strait of Belle Isle as well as the northeast coast overnight. Winds are expected to slowly subside across the island on Tuesday.

For the Northern Peninsula east, snow is forecast to change to rain from south to north today, with total accumulations between near 20 centimetres expected before the changeover.

High waves and pounding surf are expected to develop along the south and southwest coasts of Newfoundland today.

"These waves when combined with high tide and the storm surge generated by the low pressure will produce higher than normal water levels this afternoon and evening," Environment Canada cautions. "Very strong southwesterly winds are expected to produce a similar effect along the west coast of Newfoundland Tuesday morning. This could result in coastline erosion, infrastructure damage and flooding."

More information can be found on Environment Canada's website at www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/canada_e.html.