St. John’s dodged a bullet, says mayor

Colin MacLean
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Leslie causes damage but no one injured

St. John’s got lucky this time said Mayor Dennis O’Keefe in the wake of tropical storm Leslie.

The city escaped with minimal damage to public infrastructure, moderate damage to private property and no serious injuries.

That makes it a win for everybody, O’Keefe told The Telegram Tuesday night.

“We did very well today considering what could have been,” he said. “I’ve described it as being fast and furious. It was kind of paradoxical you know, because it came in so quickly this morning and here in the west-end by about 11:30 or so we were looking at blue sky. Still high winds, but a bit of blue and sunny. And by 2 p.m. it was back to being a lovely summer day.”

“It could have been much worse.”

Still, tropical storm Leslie did a lot of damage to the Avalon Peninsula.

St. John’s got a mere 7 mm of rain throughout the day — but it was the wind that posed the real danger.

The St. John’s metro area got gusts up to 132-kilometres an hour.

The wind left a swath of power outages, downed power lines, poles and trees and damage to buildings and houses.  

The metal roof on St. Theresa’s Church on Mundy Pond Road peeled back Tuesday morning. Nearby on Blackler Avenue, firefighters raced to evacuate residents when a pole teetered towards two houses.

A woman was trapped in a pickup truck on Ruby Line as poles crashed down across the road. Live wires fell across her truck and it took more than an hour for Newfoundland Power to get the electricity disconnected so that firefighters could get her out.

Health facilities, schools and other public buildings were closed for most of the day.

Flights were delayed.

Several streets were also closed in the downtown area.

At one point the RNC was warning people to stay home unless absolutely necessary. A couple of trailers also blew over in various parts of the city.

Sheets of glass were blown off the MUN pedway and panels were torn off Bruneau Centre.

Garbage was also a problem in some areas.

The city did not cancel its regularly scheduled trash pick up until later in the day, this allowed a lot of bags of trash to get carried away and strewn about.

O’Keefe acknowledged this and said the city hoped to finish most of the pick ups before the storm intensified — but that didn’t work out as planned.

Among these other damages, tropical storm Leslie also made a beeline for a street that shares its name.

On Leslie Street near downtown St. John’s, Brian Mullowney had just left his patio around 10 a.m. when he heard a thunderous noise and realized a 150-year-old tree in his yard had come crashing down.

“I looked and the next thing I see the branches all around the windows,” he said.

“It was like thunder, or worse than that.”

The tree cracked off a corner of his roof, but luckily no windows were broken.

“Igor there was nothing — a few branches and leaves blowing around,” he said of the 2010 hurricane.

The city’s call centre was also kept busy throughout the day.

About 1,000 calls came into the centre between 12 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Extra staff was brought in to help man the phones and the city said the average wait for a call to be answered was about 35 seconds.

All in all, the city weathered the storm admirably, said O’Keefe.

“There were no tragedies. The damage that occurred can be repaired and will be repaired, be it public or private, very quickly,” he said.

The cleanup has already started.

The City of Mount Pearl announced Tuesday that a residential tree collection service will be held the week of Sept. 17.

The city will accept debris such as siding and shingles as well as tree limbs cut into four-foot lengths bundled to weigh less than 50 pounds.

St. John’s will announce its trash pick up schedule sometime today.

Twitter: @TelegramMacLean

Organizations: Newfoundland Power

Geographic location: Theresa, Mundy Pond Road, Blackler Avenue Leslie Street Mount Pearl

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Recent comments

  • harry
    September 12, 2012 - 10:32

    goes to show the saying its just slapped together then sold for half million bucks it wouldnt hv lastes 20 yrs anyway ,, thats how all the new houses r done today get rich quick ,,,

    • Jeff
      September 12, 2012 - 12:55

      That's not true for all houses being built. Mine is being built and stood strong and without any damage. This house was built out of styrofoam for the most part. Notice the pinks and yellows in the before picture. That's why people should do their homework before choosing certain contractors, because they are not all into "slapping" houses together. I do agree with you that this one was slapped together though. I have watched this house closely during construction..... I see it quite often and noticed the progress (or lack there of) and how it was being built. I own very close to this house. Very close. I just hope that the would be home owners see what they could have gotten into and get to walk away from this turn key.

  • Bob
    September 12, 2012 - 09:45

    MBC, you were quick to figure that one out!! The big bad wolf huffed and puffed and blew it down actually.

  • CMM
    September 12, 2012 - 08:03

    @MBC the first picture of the house is before the storm. The second picture posted a little further down the page is the house after the storm. It completely collapsed.

  • nikki
    September 12, 2012 - 08:01

    Yes MBC...It actually got flattend during the storm. It's all just a pile of rubble now!!!

  • MBC
    September 12, 2012 - 07:54

    Nice House, a little bigger than mine. Why is it part of this story? Did it get damaged ?

  • Garbage Talk
    September 12, 2012 - 06:59

    I will never understand why SJ decided to proceed with garbage collection heading into the storm. It was a bad decision and stop sounding silly by trying to justify it. With everything flying around the city, some brainiacs decided to add garbage to the list. I am sure most residents practiced more common sense than displayed by our leaders and decided to leave it off the streets for another time. Wake up folks..