Bonne Bay still reeling from storm

Paul Hutchings
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This roof blew completely off a garage in Norris Point during high winds and blowing snow throughout the region Wednesday night.

Bonne Bay residents are still shaken from what some are calling the worst weather situation in recent memory.

A late winter storm roared through the area Wednesday,  damaging houses and businesses and causing a major power outage that, as of 5:30 Thursday afternoon, was still in effect. The outage began at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

NL Power workers had trouble Thursday afternoon getting to the effected areas because of snow drifts. One local resident reportedly clocked the wind at more than 200 kilometres per hour with a home weather kit.

Houses and businesses saw varying degrees of damage, from disappearing shingles to entire roofs destroyed. The popular tourist attraction Neddies Harbour Inn received some roof damage, but owner Battina Corrie said it was even worse in one of the homes she rents to tourists in the summer.

“We lost some shingles on the inn, that’s not so bad, but on the house the whole roof over the veranda came off and a part of the actual roof was torn off as well,” she said.

“So inside that house right now it looks like it would after a flood and an earthquake.”

Corrie said overnight Wednesday she felt physical pain as the wind bore down on the Bonne Bay town.

“My ears got that feeling like what you get when you are landing in a plane,” she recalled. “I’ve never felt that (outside of flying) and I never saw a storm like that before.”

Norris Point resident Catherine Squires was frightened during the storm. Her home had some major roof damage that she says equals the size of one and a half sheets of standard-sized plywood. The damage happened about 30 minutes after midnight.

“I was nervous. It was the worst storm I’ve ever seen,” she said. “I heard a bang, the little trap door opened up in the hallway (to the attic) and I felt a big gust of wind and said to myself, ‘Don’t tell me I got another hole in the roof.’”

Squires said a similar storm around this time last year damaged her roof as well. That storm was actually not as bad as this one, she recalled, but last year’s caused more damage. She added that most people on her street received some kind of damage. Her home is also missing shingles and siding and her car was damaged.

Resident Diane Fontaine said she did not experience much property damage but she knows how to handle the power outage.

“We have a wood stove and a Coleman stove to heat up this soup I made,” she said. “I have this landline phone that I am using so there is no battery to run out and all we can do is wait.”

As of 4 p.m. Thursday more than 1,000 residents were without power. NL Power estimated that electrical service would be restored by 5 p.m. A power pole was broken in half during the storm, but a power company representative said that was not the cause of the disruption.

During the storm, several flights were delayed at the Deer Lake Regional Airport but representatives say the airport’s runway was cleared later in the day.

The Deer Lake RCMP said it was a quiet evening in Humber Valley, with surprisingly no storm related accidents reported.

Organizations: Neddies Harbour Inn, Deer Lake Regional Airport

Geographic location: Bonne Bay, Norris Point, Humber Valley

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