Deputy Mayor Darrell Jesso was up all Friday night and Saturday morning keeping a watchful eye on flooding risks in Humber Arm South.
He was keeping an extra close eye on one house in particular, the one belonging to his parents, as warm temperatures and heavy rains inundated the area.
He had good reason to be doing that as Wally and Yvonne Jesso’s property is near Clarke’s Brook, the main stream that runs through the community of Benoit’s Cove.
It was a good thing he kept close tabs on it.
After checking the home at around 5 a.m., Jesso got a call from a neighbour an hour later who told him he could no longer see the culvert near his parents’ home.
By 6:30 a.m., it was clear his parents needed to be evacuated. Jesso and Tim Gallant of the town’s fire department went in and helped the older folks get out of the home.
Wearing chest waders, Jesso waded through roughly a foot and a half of water on the main floor to reach his parents, who had been in bed. He took off the waders and gave them to his mother, who made it out before Gallant brought them back for Wally Jesso to put on and exit the house.
“It all rose up like that within a half an hour,” said the deputy mayor, whose parents were not available for an interview Saturday. “It was pretty scary.”
The town was able to divert some of the water away from the culvert later in the day, but there was still a lot of pressure on it to handle the unusually high water levels.
The main fear was the water would not be fully receded by the time temperatures dipped back below freezing before the weekend was over.
“That’s going to be a major problem, unless we can get it drained off early,” said Jesso. “We have it opened up, but it’s still too much water for the culvert to handle.”
Of course, his folks’ house was only one of a long list of concerns in Humber Arm South Saturday. The highway in Frenchman’s Cove, like several other locations throughout western Newfoundland, had to be closed because of a fear it was about to be washed out.
In some areas, the underground water and sewer infrastructure was left exposed to the elements.
“It has been a crazy day,” he said. “It’s a bad mess whole throughout.”