St. John's area sees 3-day record rainfall due to post-tropical storm Earl

Beagle Paws rescue moving dogs to foster homes after flood

Areas of the northeast Avalon Peninsula are beginning cleanup efforts today after a rain storm brought on by post-tropical storm Earl battered the region over the weekend and into Monday.

River swells and standing water flooded streets throughout the metro area, causing some travellers to stall their vehicles before road blockades were put in place.

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According to Environment Canada meteorologist Rodney Barney, the St. John's Airport recorded 172.4 millimetres of rain from Saturday to Monday, the highest three-day rainfall amount on record.

At times, 10 to 20 millimetres of rain fell per hour on the Avalon Peninsula over the weekend, according to Environment Canada.

Most St. John's roads that closed due to the storm had reopened as of Tuesday. However, according to the latest update on the city website, Syme's Bride, Mooney Crescent, Cadet Road and the section of Old Petty Harbour between Densmore's Lane and Cemetary Lane were closed as of 3:30 p.m.

kilbride-earl-cleanup/Jeremy Eaton/CBC

Some areas of St. John's, like this Kilbride neighbourood, sustained heavy damage due to flooding from post-tropical storm Earl. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

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All sport fields remained closed as of Tuesday afternoon, but Mundy Pond Trail and sections of Bowring Park and Bidgood Park had reopened. Rennie's River Trail remained closed.

Sandy Hickman, a St. John's city councillor and lead of public works, said there's no overall timeline for repairs, but work is being completed as quickly as possible.

He said the city hasn't determined the total cost of the damage yet.

In the Kilbride neighbourhood of St. John's, Mooney Crescent took extensive damage, leaving some residents unable to get out of their driveways.

Pete West was one of them.

"It looked like an earthquake. The road was completely torn up with water running on top and underneath it," West said.

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"Mud and gravel was washed down onto people's lawns. It was a mess."

West said cleanup crews were busy Monday night and were back again early Tuesday morning to make the stretch of road passable again.

symes-bridge-flooding/Mike Moore/CBC

Symes Bridge remained closed on Tuesday due to heavy flooding after post-tropical storm Earl. (Mike Moore/CBC)

West's house wasn't damaged by the debris but he said neighbours who live near the bottom of the street experienced a fair amount of flooding and property damage. He said he's been living there for 20 years and hasn't witnessed anything like this weekend's storm damage to date.

"It's probably about a third of Mooney Crescent [damaged] but then it also goes up around to Old Petty Harbour Road," said West.

"At least two blocks need repair. They had to clear mud and water off the rest of the street so that people could get in and out of their driveways there."

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Hickman said Mooney Crecent is under "complete rehabilitation and reconstruction" and is the city's biggest repair job.

WATCH: River flowing high and fast after Hurricane Earl passes by the East Coast

In Mount Pearl, Mayor Dave Aker said no roads or trails were closed on Tuesday. Aker said the city fared well considering the high rainfall amounts.

"There was some isolated flooding and some erosion along the Waterford River Valley, but otherwise we're in good shape," he said.

Aker said there's no major damage to trails or roads.

A ruff situation

As workers repaired damage to city infrastructure, flooding has forced an animal rescue to find temporary homes for the beagles in its care.

Sandra Woito, co-founder of Beagle Paws, said there was no flooding over the weekend, but when staff arrived at the shelter on Monday, there was about an inch of water on the floor.

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"It was not something that we expected to see," she said. "We've been here a few years now and, you know, we've had lots of rain at times, but apparently it's … seeped up through the floor."

Woito said the rescue has seen a surge of surrenders this summer.

"We've had such an influx like I've never seen in 16 years being with Beagle Paws," she said.

She said some pet owners can't afford to care for their animal, while others have pets with socialization issues due to COVID-19. She said the shelter was able to get six out last week, and only had to find foster homes for three pets due to the flooding.

However, Woito said the shelter had to pay $2,000 for a sump pump for its basement. She's hoping the beagles can return to the shelter on Wednesday.

The story was originally published for CBC News on Sept. 13, 2022. It contains files from The St. John's Morning Show and Jeremy Eaton.