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Reporter's Notebook: covering Leslie in Newfoundland


Chris St. Clair, Weather Broadcaster
September 12, 2012 — Tropical Storm Leslie was Atlantic Canada's first big-impact system of the 2012 hurricane season. Here's how our coverage went from the ground in Newfoundland.


Chris St. Clair reports live from Newfoundland as Leslie hits
Chris St. Clair reports live from Newfoundland as Leslie hits

5am: September 11, 2012 

Leslie careened into Newfoundland in the early hours of September 11th.

Our best vantage point to illustrate the power of hurricanes and tropical storms was naturally the more easterly point in North America, Cape Spear. Our predawn drive found our Jeep buffeted by winds that were gusting to 90km/h, and shrouded in a thick fog.

We began our broadcast as the winds continued to strengthen. From a far distance we watched a man lifted off the ground and blown some 5 metres towards the shore.  

Later we moved back to the downtown core of St John's , we arrived at the harbour at the same time that Leslie was making landfall some 100 kilometres to our southwest sporting wind gusts over 130 km/h. 

9am: September 11, 2012 

Flooding from both excessive rain and storm surge, hurricane force winds cut many of the smaller communities west of St John's. The power began failing throughout eastern Newfoundland as fully leaved trees could no longer bear up against the relentless gusts of Leslie.

In St John's, we watched as tree limbs fell, trash barrels were tossed, and on many buildings, the roof literally began to peel away and shred itself into huge slabs of asphalt and paper, which blew into car windows and rained down onto main road forcing what became a day of traffic chaos in St John's. 

Waves crash the coast of NL
Waves crash the coast of NL

Noon: September 11, 2012 

Power out for up to 20,000 customers, street signals inoperative, but police, fire, and civic employees made sure that St John's remained safe - I think that having a police conference in town with some 700 officers gave us all a better peace of mind.

Schools and government closed up for the day. The city was quiet aside from the roar of the wind, but even by lunch time that was easing.

By two in the afternoon we found ourselves at Signal Hill, near Cabot Tower where Marconi received his telegraph message over 100 years ago, the sun was shining, it was pleasantly mild, the winds were down to just 50 km/h and behold, the tourists, locals and storm lovers were out in full force to explore, examine and retell their stories of the day.

Leslie, our first storm of this year’s Atlantic Hurricane season.

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