Municipalities dig out, get ready for rain

James McLeod
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Both St. John's and Mount Pearl are bracing for today's rain and asking for help from citizens in the aftermath of the weekend snowstorm and electricity crisis.
Hundreds of fire hydrants are buried under snow, and Mount Pearl Mayor Randy Simms said he could really use assistance from his constituents.

We're going to look to our residents to do us a little favour, and it has to do with fire hydrants, Simms said.

A good neighbour thing would be to go down with a shovel today and say, well, I'm going to try and get to the front of that hydrant, so that if anything should happen, god forbid, that hydrant is readily accessible.

St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe was also asking for help with fire hydrants, and was worried about the rain.

Forecasts show a possibility for a heavy rainstorm today, and O'Keefe said flooding is a concern.

That's our big worry right now, O'Keefe said.

Many of the catch basins are buried under snow, and if we can get some of those uncovered through our own efforts and the co-operative efforts of people in neighbourhoods across the city, pitching in together, we're helping the city and we're helping ourselves.

On Monday afternoon the electricity worries seemed to subside. For the first time since Thursday, Newfoundland Power was not predicting rolling blackouts.

But both Simms and O'Keefe said the plan, at least for the moment, is to leave the warming centres open in case anybody is still without power and needs a refuge.

Emergency Services Minister Steve Kent said towns and cities across the province are doing pretty well through the whole mess.

There have not been any significant requests to fire and emergency services for assistance, Kent said. By all accounts, things are running smoothly.

He said once things quiet down, he expects there will be a full rundown of how things went, and whether there are any lessons to be learned about facing this sort of situation in the future.

Kent said one of the messages he's sending to communities across the province is that everyone needs to conserve energy. He also said he's worried about the rain.

We're monitoring the weather situation very closely, of course, he said. We've reached out to communities to provide advanced notice of the weather and potential impacts.

Organizations: Newfoundland Power

Geographic location: St. John's

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