A number of buildings in Gander were damaged during a windstorm Monday night, including the Joseph R. Smallwood Arts and Culture Centre, where a large portion of siding was blown off one side of the building.
During the storm, winds as high as 120 km/h were reported which were, according to weather officials, some of the highest recorded winds in the area in 17 years.
The storm also caused damage to the Albatross Hotel on the Trans-Canada Highway. Hotel management confirmed this afternoon about one-fifth of the roof sustained damage, which was contained to one wing of the hotel. The top layer of the roof was torn from the structure, but the lower roof layer remained intact.
No damage was sustained inside the hotel, although 10 rooms on the second floor directly below the damaged portion of the roof have been temporarily closed for precautionary reasons.
Management said clean-up crews were busy collecting insulation that blew away from the structure, but repairs to the roof were being hampered by continuing high winds.
An apartment building on Bennett Drive was also damaged during the storm, and there were reports of siding blowing off a number of homes and other buildings around the area.
Environment Canada has issued a winter storm watch for St. John's and vicinity with periods of snow expected Wednesday.
There are also snow squall warnings and watches for many areas of the province today, from the east coast to western Newfoundland.
The St. John's area is expected to get snowfall, possibly exceeding 10 cms, Wednesday.
Environment Canada says a major winter storm over Northern Labrador will move northward today into the Labrador Sea.
"Strong southwesterly winds from this system will continue to affect Newfoundland today with peak winds gusting to 110 km/h along parts of the west coast of the Northern Peninsula and to 110 km/h in the Port aux Basques area," the weather office says. "Elsewhere, winds will gust to near 80 km/h today."
For regions under a snow squall warning, Environment Canada says, snow squalls will persist in the southwesterly flow today. Local accumulations may reach 15 to 20 cms on the west coast, the Northern Peninsula and along the South Coast. For the Burin and Avalon peninsulas, local accumulations of up to 10 cms can be expected in the heaviest squalls today. These squalls combined with the strong winds will result in blowing snow and near zero visibilities.
For regions under a snow squall watch, the weather office says significant snow squalls could develop today, but generally local accumulations are expected to be in the range of five to 10 cms. Locally poor visibilities in blowing snow are also expected.
High waves and pounding surf are expected to continue along the west coast of the Northern Peninsula today, but levels are not expected to reach warning criteria.
On Wednesday, as a low pressure system is forecast to pass southeast of the Avalon Peninsula, snow is expected to begin in the morning and taper off in the evening. Environment Canada says the snowfall amount will depend on the exact track of the low.
With this uncertainty regarding the storm track, the weather office is advising the public to monitor future bulletins as warnings may be required.
More information from Environment Canada can be found online at www.weatheroffice.gc.ca.
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