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Resident relieved riverbank along Pine Tree Drive in Deer Lake survived latest mild spell

According to area resident Christine May, the Nicholsville Bridge was obscured by trees and not visible from this articular vantage point before the recent landsliding events along Pine Tree Drive in Deer Lake.
According to area resident Christine May, the Nicholsville Bridge was obscured by trees and not visible from this articular vantage point before the recent landsliding events along Pine Tree Drive in Deer Lake. - Submitted

The mild spell some residents of western Newfoundland were dreading seems to have come and gone without many reports of further damage to public and private property.

There was some minor flooding, including in the Boone’s Road area of Corner Brook, which was among many areas that flooded when warm weather and heavy rain struck the west coast of Newfoundland Jan. 13.

The tensest watch Wednesday was on Pine Tree Drive in Deer Lake. The road running along the banks of the Humber River has been the focus of the town’s attention since the recent storm caused land to begin slipping into the river.

Related stories:

Homeowners in Deer Lake’s volunteer evacuation zone vow to stay until the last minute

Two homes on Pine Tree Drive in Deer Lake urged to evacuate because of riverbank erosion

Mayor Dean Ball says Humber River’s eroding banks will continue to be a serious concern for Deer Lake

Riverside homeowners in Deer Lake hope the Humber River recedes before evacuation is ordered

Four homes on the river side of the road are deemed to be in jeopardy if the sandy soil continues to erode.

This week, crews erected four utility poles on the opposite side of the street, and removed four from the edge of the foundering bank. The work to relocate all power and communications lines was expected to be completed Wednesday.

The big fear was the mild temperatures and rain that hit western Newfoundland throughout most of Wednesday.

Christine May, a resident on the street whose parents live in one of the four homes considered to be in a danger zone, said the conditions seemed to be settling late Wednesday afternoon.

“Nobody’s moving anywhere yet,” she said of those living in the four homes under a voluntary evacuation alert, all of who are family relations to May.

“Our biggest worry is the rock down by the guardrail because that has slipped. If that goes, that’s close to the water and sewer lines.”

She said the rock she’s referring to is stone placed along the bank on that part of the river many years ago to help mitigate erosion.

She said that compromised fortification has to be built back up again to keep the infrastructure safe.

While getting through Wednesday’s weather conditions unscathed was a big relief, May knows this is far from over.

“Fingers crossed,” she said of her hope the riverbank’s deterioration has slowed for the long term.

The special weather statement issued by Environment Canada came to an end in the region Wednesday afternoon as the temperature that had reached 7 C in Deer Lake began to plummet back down towards and below the freezing point.

Conditions are expected to remain cold in the Deer Lake area for the next while, with daytime highs of between -5 C and -8 C for the next three days. It will be bitterly cold Friday and Saturday nights as the temperature is expected to drop to -16 C Friday night and -12 Saturday night in the area.

There are some slightly milder temperatures anticipated for Sunday, with a high of 2 C; and Monday, with a high of 0 C.

The weather did cause some concern and frustration elsewhere throughout the region Wednesday. Roads were slippery and slushy in the morning after the previous night’s snow had turned to freezing rain before thawing out later in the day. The road conditions forced schools in western Newfoundland to shut or delay opening.

Motorists in the Piccadilly area of Route 463 were advised to use extra caution because of rising water levels, while water buildup was also a concern on Route 430 on the Northern Peninsula between Gros Morne National Park and Plum Point.

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