High winds, snowy winter weather cause damage in Labrador City
Most of Newfoundland and Labrador was hit with icy cold temperatures and high winds over the weekend, but in Labrador City, high winds caused some damage across the town.
Deputy Mayor Mitchell Marsh says the town was well-prepared for power outages and emergencies, having monitored the warnings issued by Environment Canada.
"We had some, I guess, wind that we've never really seen much like it around here in this portion of Labrador. And with the wind chill factor on top of the cold we were having, it posed some big risk, no doubt," Marsh said Sunday.
"We always say, we're better to be proactive than reactive in a situation like this. Yesterday, it could have went bad real fast."
Labrador City saw temperatures as cold as -50 with the wind chill, as well as high winds. A blowing snow advisory was also in effect.
Marsh said the town was ready to activate its emergency response plan — erring on the side of caution is something the town learned from Port aux Basques and the impact post-tropical storm Fiona had on the community.
"Our mayor had attended a conference that their mayor kind of spearheaded, was the special guest speaker, and one of the takeaways she got from that was, don't wait till it's too late," said Marsh.
"It's better to activate it, get ready to activate it and laugh about it later, rather than activate it when you're in the heart of the storm."
Preparations included two warming centres in local schools — neither of which had to be used thanks to a quick restoration of power, said Marsh.
The only major damage within the town could be seen at the Embassy Apartments in the heart of the town. The siding blew off from one side of the building, hitting cars in the parking lot underneath.
Marsh said the town dealt with some minor calls, like broken or frozen water lines. High wind speeds as seen over the weekend, he said, aren't a common occurrence in the area and also caused issues for some, such as blown-off shingles or siding, downed trees and snowed-in front doors.
Corinna Wentzell and her family also felt the impact of high winds, snow and an unsecured front door.
Wentzell and her family live in Labrador City, and are used to snow and cold temperatures, but not to high winds.
When Wentzell and her family went to bed on Friday night, they left their front door unlocked as usual. With the wind blowing heavily, nobody heard it blow open in the middle of the night — until Wentzell's six-year-old daughter woke up to a big surprise and alerted the rest of the family.
"She came up. She's like, 'Oh my goodness, I think there's a leak in the house'. And so, we got up and it was freezing, And there was snow coming into our living room at that point," Wentzell laughed.
"Our porch was completely covered with snow. There was a couple, almost a foot of snow on our porch, which was a pain."
Wentzell said luckily, no major damage occurred and the family was able to dry off coats, hats, boots and mittens stored in the porch.
"But we did have to shovel inside of our house, which was interesting but we did get most of the snow out and then we soaked the rest of it up with towels. So, we have a lot of laundry on our hands," she said.
While the wind has eased off, the cleanup continues for some home owners like Wentzell.
"We just returned from Florida like a week ago," she said.
"I don't know if we were fully prepared to deal with this storm quite so soon after getting back."