Washouts, flooding lead to states of emergency

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Hurricane Igor causing havoc on east and south coasts of province

According to officials with the Canadian Hurricane Centre and this province’s Fire and Emergency Services Agency, there are a number of states of emergency on the Burin and Bonavista peninsulas, as well as in the Clarenville area.

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There are reports of some people on the Burin Peninsula being evacuated from their homes by boat.

During a joint news teleconference this morning, officials said more than 200 mm of rain has already fallen at St. Lawrence and 32 mm of rain had fallen in a single hour on the Bonavista Peninsula.

Dennis Shea with Fire and Emergency Services called the storm unprecedented.

He said flooding has been widely reported from Gambo and heading east.

From road closures and washouts, to bridges being potentially undermined, Shea said information is pouring in and much of it has yet to be confirmed.

He advised people to stay off the Burin highway, and told towns that are becoming overwhelmed to get help from private contractors in their respective areas.

Shea went on to say that after tropical storm Chantal, areas in the province filed $25 million in damage claims.

He said he expects damages caused by Igor to “far exceed” that total.

But the good news is there are no reports of fatalities or injuries as of now.

Winds are expected to increase as the day goes on as the storm moves east into the St. John’s area.

Hurricane centre program director Chris Fogarty said it is almost inevitable there will be downed trees and power outages in the capital region as the storm progresses.

Forgarty said winds of up to 150 km an hour are expected over bodies water.

In the meantime, Parks Canada has closed Cape Spear and Cabot Tower on Signal Hill for the remainder of the day in an attempt to keep storm watchers away from potential dangerous areas.

The Bell Island ferry service has been halted until further notice, and airlines are advising passengers to check ahead as there may be flight cancellations or delays as the day progresses.

A power outage in Terrenceville on the Burin Peninsula is expected to last until 4 p.m. today.

Eastern School District schools are closed for the day and police are warning the motoring public of heavy water buildup on highways and to use extreme caution while driving.

According to Environment Canada, heavy rain, high winds, heavy ocean surges are expected to continue throughout the day as hurricane Igor passes along the east and south coasts of the province.

Organizations: Canadian Hurricane Centre, Fire and Emergency Services Agency, Parks Canada Environment Canada

Geographic location: Burin, Clarenville, Gambo Bell Island Terrenceville

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