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Eastern Newfoundland continuing cleanup from Hurricane Larry Sunday

Sunday, September 12th 2021, 4:35 pm - Parks remain closed Sunday due to debris

People in eastern Newfoundland are continuing to clean up from the aftermath of Hurricane Larry, which brought sheets of rain, high winds and storm surge to the island Friday.

Sustained winds of over 120 km/h — with gusts as high as 180 km/h in some areas — knocked over trees, power lines and caused property damage across the region. According to Newfoundland Power, as of 10 a.m. NT Sunday, about 5,500 people were still without power. In the midst of the storm 60,000 customers were in the dark.

Advance polls and Elections Canada offices in the ridings of Avalon, St. John's East and St. John's South-Mount-Pearl were closed due to power outages caused by Hurricane Larry but have now re-opened until 9:00 p.m. on Sunday. They will reopen again from 9:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m. on Monday.

Cleanup is continuing to take place on the province's roads due to debris and washouts. Route 90 between St. Stephen's and St. Vincent's, which saw major sustained damage throughout Saturday morning, remains closed as of 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Christine Carter and Florian Hoefner saw the impact of the wind first hand after part of a tree landed on the gas tank of their St. John's home.

"We heard a first bang just after 1:00 a.m. That was just a little branch on the deck...Then we heard a huge bang. I think Heather, our neighbour, said it was around three or five," Hoefner said.

CBC Hurricane Larry Damaged Tree Removal Fire crews work to remove a large chunk of a tree that fell near Christine Carter and Florian Hoefner's gas tank at their home. (Emma Grunwald/CBC)

"We looked out and we saw that a huge branch of this tree was missing. We didn't see it at first, [but] it had fallen to the side of our house."

Carter said the family is grateful to escape relatively unscathed, but is sad to see the tree leave their yard, saying it predates everyone living in the home.

They're also thanking their neighbours, who quickly came to help remove branches and other parts of the tree away from the house Saturday morning.

"We already know what an incredible neighbourhood it is, but this made it even more apparent. Just how caring everyone is."

ICEBERG ALLEY A GO AT MILE ONE

Following the destruction of the Iceberg Alley Performance Tent in the hurricane, organizers say the show will go on at Mile One Centre in St. John's.

According to the festival's website, shows will begin as scheduled at Mile One on Monday. Sunday's cancelled show featuring St. John's musician Alan Doyle has been rescheduled to Sept. 19.

John Steele of Brigus Production Company praised the city for their willingness to continue the shows, saying representatives from the city and St. John's Sports and Entertainment called him hours after the tent was destroyed.

CBC Iceberg Alley Performance Tent Hurricane Larry Damage The Iceberg Alley performance tent near Quidi Vidi Lake was extensively damaged in the early morning on Saturday by Hurricane Larry. (Danny Arsenault/CBC)

"[They] were so proactive on this. At 10 to 7:00 the morning of the storm, we got a call...saying what can we do to help, we're there to help. So I really got to give thanks to them," he said. "It was really, really appreciated and it was really a pleasant thing for us to happen in all that madness…All the other acts are so pumped to play."

Steele said the experience at Mile One will be similar to the tent, with drinks available for purchase on the concert floor and a mask wearing mandate while not actively eating or drinking.

He said that while the tent was designed to withstand winds of up to 125 km/h, the high gusts toppled the tent, writing it off. It's unclear at this time how much the damage will cost.

"The tent was severely damaged, but it was no one's fault…With all the infrastructure that's inside that tent, we didn't have the time to take it down."

Tickets for original performances will be honoured for the rescheduled dates, while tickets for shows that had to be cancelled will be refunded.

When asked about the future of the tent for next year, Steele said some aspects will have to be considered but hopes the outdoor event can continue.

"If people want it and we can do it, we'll probably have a look at continuing on with it if it's practical and stuff. There's some aspects that we'll have to consider, obviously. But we've been getting a lot of support. Most people have been so kind and supportive."

DEBRIS DAY TWO

Debris collection is continuing across the region Sunday, with the cities of St. John's and Mount Pearl launching debris drop off and collection sites for residents.

Bowring, Bannerman and Victoria Parks in St. John's will remain closed until 10:00 p.m. while crews clean up downed trees and cracked branches.

For damaged trees that are still standing, Arborist Ryan Painter said it's important to have the tree inspected and clear any dead, broken or hanging branches that may not be detectable from the ground.

While it may be in someone's best interest to simply chop off all of a tree's branches or leaves, he says maintaining a tree often means more than just cutting. Over pruning can cause the tree to be more unstable in severe weather events, he said.

"It's certainly important for residents and tree owners to certainly have some faith in our trees…Commonly when we have tree failures or large stem or branch failures, they're a bit worrying but they're not that significant."

"With the proper care, trees can withstand these types of winds much better, but overall trees are tough here and we should certainly take care of them."

Thumbnail courtesy of Shannon Reardon via Twitter.

This story was originally published by CBC News on September 12, 2021.

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