Hurricane Larry wallops southeast Newfoundland with strong winds, storm surge

Hurricane Larry made landfall on southeastern Newfoundland overnight as a Category 1 storm, knocking out power throughout St. John’s and the surrounding area in a short, sharp wallop of heavy winds, torrential rains and an unexpectedly high storm surge.

Hurricane warnings that had been in place for the Avalon Peninsula were ended at around 5 a.m. NT, though wind warnings were still in effect for some areas, including the capital.

As of 3:14 NT, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h, with gusts surpassing 180km/h in exposed and elevated areas. Cape St. Mary’s lighthouse reported a peak gust of 182 km/h on Friday evening.

Well over 10,000 customers are without power and social media posts appeared to show damage to structures including a concert tent and an elementary school.   

Argentia waters 1.5-metres higher than normal

The latest tropical cyclone information statement from Environment Canada said a “notable” storm surge event occurred near the Burin Peninsula and Avalon Peninsula.

The tide gauge at Argentia showed a peak water level about 150 centimetres higher than normal, the update said.

Rain was short-lived but intense, with about 30 millimetres falling “in a very short period of time.”

The statement said Larry made landfall at 1:30 a.m. NT just west of Long Harbour, N.L., on the Avalon Peninsula.

The Newfoundland Power website is reporting more than 10,000 customers are without power across eastern Newfoundland. Areas without power include St. John’s, Mount Pearl, Whitbourne and the Burin Peninsula.

‘A bit creepy’

Jennifer Massey, who lives in downtown St. John’s, said the wind has blown the shingles off her roof. She said her power was out, and she felt like she was in a “Victorian novel.”

“It’s a little bit eerie, a bit creepy,” she told CBC News.

She said she hoped that the large, older trees in St. John’s would make it through the night undamaged.

Just before 3 a.m., reports on social media showed that the performance tent near Quidi Vidi Lake in place for the Iceberg Alley concert festival had suffered extensive damage.

Iceberg Alley cancelled its planned April Wine concert on Friday evening due to the storm.

A photo shared on Twitter appears to show that a section of the roof of Mary Queen of Peace Elementary school has been damaged.

Newfoundland Power will have its full workforce out repairing damage today, and people are advised to remain in their homes so crews can easily access damaged areas.

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