Heavy rains result in major washouts on Newfoundland's west coast

Half of Cape St. George is now cut off, and other roads are impassible following a series of washouts

Significant rainfall on the west coast Friday has resulted in significant flooding and road washouts.

Rouzes Brook in Cape St. George has overflowed its banks, causing serious damage.

Route 460 from Marches Point to Rouzes Brook is closed to all traffic, including emergency vehicles, due to the washouts. In a statement, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure says department officials, engineers and contractors are on site "to assess damage, make appropriate repairs and determine alternate routes where necessary."

The road closure means half of the town is now cut off.

"Yesterday was a day from hell, I guess you would call it," said Cape St. George mayor Stella Cornect. "We had a terrible, terrible day here. The past 24 hours has been wicked on our residents."

Newfoundland flooding/Submitted by Jasen Benwah via CBC

Contractors are currently working to fix and open up the Marches Point side of the road. (Submitted by Jasen Benwah)

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Cornect says contractors are working to fix and open up the Marches Point side of the road, as around 650 people there are currently stranded from the rest of the town.

She says no one has been injured, as ambulance services and a fire department are available to people stranded in the cut off area.

Residents are asked to still call 911 in an emergency, and if they cannot be reached by Cape St. George Ambulance, Lourdes Ambulance will respond.

Cornect says quite a few homes have flooded, including her basement. She says residents who have sustained property damage should send photographs to her email, as she is contacting the provincial government, asking them to provide help.

"Some people are devastated because some people do not have insurance," she said. "With life the way it is now, people can't afford it."

She says the government has been responsive and is "ready to help."

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Benwah First Nation chief Jasen Benwah says Route 460 is "a mess," and that many local side roads have also been damaged by the rain.

"We are completely cut off," he said. "I can't go anywhere outside right at the moment."

He says a lot of residents are trying to tidy up their driveways, as many driveways have been "gorged out" by the water, causing cars to get stuck in muddy ruts.

"This is a one of a kind event," said Benwah. "It's sad, and some of it is daunting when you look at what you got to do, but we're still always grateful to be safe, you know, no one's got hurt."

Video posted to social media has shown entire culverts washing away, and at least one house with a rush of water running through the front door.

As well, Route 440 near Hughes Brook has been washed out and reduced to one lane.

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Meanwhile, traffic has been reduced on several thoroughfares in Deer Lake due to the flooding, and according to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, two major roads are closed in Corner Brook as precautionary measures.

Drivers should avoid Riverside Drive and O'Connell Drive for the time being.

Newfoundland flooding/Courtesy the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure via CBC

Route 460 has been completely washed out, with loose culverts bashing through the railing as they washed away, close to occupied homes. (Courtesy the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Stephenville has also seen some significant flooding, with high water levels causing the closure of several sections of road in the Massachusetts Drive area, as well as on Big Port Harmon.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is also temporarily closing the harvesting of all bivalve shellfish for recreational or commercial purposes from Ferolle Point, south to Cape Anguille.

In a statement, the DFO said "there is reason to believe that the sanitary conditions of the adjacent marine waters may have degraded... and the contamination of the water would likely pose a risk to public health if shellfish in the affected area were harvested for consumption."

WATCH: Rain causes flooding in Newfoundland and Labrador

Thumbnail courtesy of Jasen Benwah via CBC.

The story was originally written and published for CBC News on March 30, 2024. It contains files from Jessica Singer, Andrew Hawthorn and William Ping.