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High winds damage homes in western Newfoundland towns

A section of the roof blew off Michael Joyce’s York Harbour home on Monday forcing his family to evacuate. - Photo Courtesy of Michael Joyce
A section of the roof blew off Michael Joyce’s York Harbour home on Monday forcing his family to evacuate. — Photo Courtesy of Michael Joyce

Gale was strong enough to force the studs through the gyprock in one York Harbour house

YORK HARBOUR, N.L. —

With the wind howling outside his York Harbour home, Michael Joyce got up around 7:30 a.m. Monday to take a look out one of the windows.

He didn’t like what he saw and went back to sit on his bed with the intention of retrieving his phone from the nightstand to message his daughter who was downstairs in her room. He was going to tell her to let her friends know that she wouldn’t be picking them up as he wasn’t sending her to school because it was too windy.

He never got a chance to do that before everything went crazy and he heard the sound of glass shattering.

“I thought I heard the windows beat out is what it sounded like.”

“I just sung out before I even saw what happened for everybody to hurry up to get to the door, we gets out of the house. I didn’t know if the roof was going to blow right off her. I didn’t know.”


Winds gusting up to 107 km/h in the York Harbour area on Monday ripped some of the siding off Michael Joyce’s home. — Photo Courtesy of Michael Joyce
Winds gusting up to 107 km/h in the York Harbour area on Monday ripped some of the siding off Michael Joyce’s home. — Photo Courtesy of Michael Joyce


It turned out a portion of the roof, shingles and parts of the eaves, had blown off.

Joyce said once he saw what happened the family was able to get some stuff together, including their two cats, one of which had hidden away because of the noise, and evacuate the house.

Besides the roof, a lot of siding had blown off and some of studs in the home pushed through into the house in some areas causing the drywall to crack. With the house open to the elements the rain was getting in, causing more damage.

The broken glass he’d heard came from the vases and other items that had been on the window ledges.



The home, located on the town’s main road between Byrne’s Store and The Roost, was built in 2010.

Later in the morning Joyce went back to find some siding had blown off his garage and the garage door was almost blown in.

“There’s no trouble to see stuff blowing around,” he said of the debris, including one of his lobster pots that had been packed behind his garage, which ended up about 800 feet away.

SaltWire Network’s chief meteorologist Cindy Day said the neighbouring community of Lark Harbour was showing wind gusts of 107 kilometres per hour in the morning that were to hold until about 2 p.m. before dropping a little to 95 km/h or so.



Joyce has seen it blow hard before but doesn’t know what happened for his home to bear the brunt of it this time.

“It was just a steady wind and then all of a sudden a hard squall hit and everything just went crazy, basically.”

He’s thankful his family is safe and the home was insured. But he doesn’t know how long they’ll be out of it.

“The house is opened up from the inside. There are actually places there you can look out through and part of the roof is gone, so it’s not livable.”

And until the wind dies down contractors won’t be able to fully assess the damage.

After the incident the town posted an advisory on Facebook about the risk of blowing debris and updated it later in the day to say there had been some damage to other homes in the area.

It also advised of reports of rocks on the road between York Harbour and Frenchman’s Cove and of low wires across Beach Road and Snooks Lane that had been reported to Bell.


High winds in York Harbour on Monday morning pushed in on the studs in the walls of Michael Joyce’s York Harbour home causing the drywall to crack. - Photo Courtesy of Michael Joyce
High winds in York Harbour on Monday morning pushed in on the studs in the walls of Michael Joyce’s York Harbour home causing the drywall to crack. - Photo Courtesy of Michael Joyce


In Corner Brook wind gusts measured at 65 km/h in the morning and later in the day a spokesperson for the city said it had not received any reports of wind damage.

Day said wind gusts in Stephenville were recorded at 75 km/h and at 146 km/h in the Wreckhouse area just after 9 a.m.

In St. George’s the town office closed in the morning after half a roof blew off a nearby home.

“We’re used to strong winds, but not like this,” said Mayor Danny Conway. “This is way more than we expected.

“It’s the strongest I’ve ever felt here. We’re looking out across the water there now and it’s just a mist rising from the water. But it’s really crazy winds out here.”


Half the roof blew off this St. George’s home in western Newfoundland on Monday causing damage to the town office.Photo Courtesy of Calvin Sheppard. — Contributed
Half the roof blew off this St. George’s home in western Newfoundland on Monday causing damage to the town office.Photo Courtesy of Calvin Sheppard. — Contributed


Conway said the debris from the roof blew up against the town hall damaging one side of the building.

There was also a lot of debris in the parking lot and on the road as he said the home was well insulated.

But it would have to wait until the wind died down before the debris could be cleaned up.


Diane Crocker reports on west coast news.
[email protected]
Twitter: @WS_DianeCrocker


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