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Hurricane Maria makes landfall in southeastern Newfoundland


Maria made for a dreary day in St. John's
Maria made for a dreary day in St. John's

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

September 17, 2011 — Hurricane Maria made landfall in southeastern Newfoundland Friday afternoon, but fortunately the wind and rain fell short of predictions.

This trampoline in Upper Island Cove took flight as Hurricane Maria made landfall in Newfoundland Friday afternoon
This trampoline in Upper Island Cove took flight as Hurricane Maria made landfall in Newfoundland Friday afternoon

It wasn't a storm to tell the grandkids about.

Hurricane Maria made landfall in southeastern Newfoundland Friday, making for a blustery and wet afternoon but not the widespread damage and flooding that had been feared.

The storm made landfall as a category 1 hurricane in the vicinity of St. Mary's Bay around 3:30 p.m. NDT Friday, generating pounding surf and dumping heavy rain over the southeastern Avalon Peninsula.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre had warned of the potential for wind gusts up to 120 km/h. However, even the strongest gusts fell short of hurricane strength.

Cape Pine saw the strongest winds, reporting a gust of 103 km/h as Maria came onshore. St. Pierre saw the most rain -- about 60 mm.

The CHC had originally forecast up to 90 mm of rain for the Avalon, but as Weather Network meteorologist Mark Robinson explains, Maria was simply moving too fast to generate substantial rainfall accumulations.

Winds began picking up in St. John's Friday evening behind the storm. Gusts up to 80 km/h were reported at the International Airport.

Schools were closed as a precaution Friday. Flights had also been cancelled earlier in the day, but were running again with some delays by mid-afternoon.

Fishermen in Burin hauled up their boats ahead of Maria's arrival
Fishermen in Burin hauled up their boats ahead of Maria's arrival

Some residents had been concerned that Maria would be another Hurricane Igor. Igor caused widespread destruction on the Avalon almost a year to the day that Maria made landfall.

Robert Hiscock, chief administrative officer of Clarenville, said he got an “anxious feeling” when he heard Maria was tracking straight towards Newfoundland.

Clarenville was badly flooded during Igor, but the town has made improvements to its drainage system in the past year, and Hiscock said engineers and RCMP were ready to respond in an emergency.

Maria merged with a strong non-tropical low as it moved out to sea, causing strong winds to persist over much of the province Friday night into Saturday.

Some of the strongest gusts were recorded in Labrador. Makkovik Bay saw a peak gust of 118 km/h.

With files from Rob Rodriguez

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