Public Advisory: residents and communities urged to prepare for impending weather

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A number of weather warnings have been issued today for this evening and overnight by Environment Canada, prompting Fire and Emergency Services – Newfoundland and Labrador (FES-NL) to urge residents and communities to be prepared. Residents should take all necessary precautions to ensure their personal safety and take preventive measures to avoid the possibility of localized flooding.

Residents are advised to take such steps as having an emergency kit ready with the necessary supplies, making contact with seniors and those who are vulnerable, and never taking unnecessary risks like venturing close to shorelines or dangerous areas.

Currently, there are numerous snowfall, rainfall and wind warnings for the coastal areas of the province. The specific information can be found at − www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/warnings/nl_e.html.

Of particular concern are those areas which are forecast to receive snow changing to heavy rain. Forecasts indicate this will be a fast moving system throughout this evening, with the potential for rains between 30 to 60 millimetres and winds gusting to 110 kilometres an hour. The rain and wind, combined with snow melt, could cause flooding in some areas and power outages throughout the affected regions. A sharp drop in temperature is also expected following this system, which can make for hazardous conditions.

Residents are reminded to ensure they have access to emergency numbers for their area and keep a close watch on the local forecast for any possible changes. A list of important safety tips can be found in the backgrounder below.

Advice for Residents:

  • Be aware of all local emergency numbers;
  • Ensure sump pumps are in working order;
  • Keep all drains free from debris, clean out window and door wells, keep windows firmly closed;
  • Safely remove dead tree branches from any trees which could pose a hazard or threat;
  • Ensure all equipment and yard tools are secured to avoid potential damage in high winds;
  • Secure all exposed marine equipment and vessels;
  • Ensure all cell phones are charged and fresh batteries available for a portable radio in the event of a power outage;
  • Cordless phones will not work in a power outage, therefore a hard-lined phone for the home could also be of benefit;
  • In the event of basement flooding, ensure the power is shut off at the main breaker before stepping into the water to avoid the possibility of electrocution. If you are unsure, call a licensed electrician;
  • If you become aware of excessive flooding on streets or blocked culverts or drains, contact municipal officials to advise them of the situation; and,
  • Should you notice downed power lines in your area, do not touch or attempt to move, but instead advise your utility provider immediately.

Advice for Municipalities:

  • For municipalities, ensure that all storm sewers, culverts, bridges, and drains are free from debris and that emergency personnel are available should the need arise;
  • Have sufficient drainage in place to allow water run off; and,
  • Ensure snow has not blocked major risk areas.

In the event of a storm surge, residents are advised to:

  • Stay inside where there is protection from the possibility of water and debris;
  • Make sure to keep in contact with family members, especially if they are outside the home;
  • Ensure basement windows are closed;
  • Fuel your car. Should evacuation become necessary, it may be difficult to access gas;
  • Check supplies including medications, radio and flashlight batteries;
  • Monitor the storm’s progress and listen for further warnings or instructions from local officials; and,
  • For protection, remain indoors on the downwind side of the house, away from windows.