The southwestern fringe of Newfoundland could see between 200 and 350 millimeters of rain over the next 36 hours in a weather event that meteorologists say will likely land in the record books.
According to Justin Boudreau of Environment Canada’s Gander weather bureau, the heavy rain will begin Tuesday morning and continue Wednesday as a tropical trough parks over the Port aux Basques and Wreckhouse area of the island.
The system will bring sustained rain for 24 to 36 hours along with sustained winds in excess of 100 km/h with gusts of up to 150 km/h.
“200 [mm] is a good low end at the moment. On average we see about 200 to maybe 350, maybe even more than that,” Boudreau told CBC News on Monday. The storm could set the record for the largest rainfall recorded in the province, 268 mm in Mayor in 2016.
“From what I’ve looked at, it’s more than a storm of one in 100 years.”
Boudreau said the system will be almost entirely confined to Newfoundland’s southwestern tip, something he called “remarkable.”
“When I look at the total rainfall for 48 hours, there’s a huge amount down between Port aux Basques and Burgeo and Gander and the northeast has 0.5mm. It’s something else,” he said.
According to CBC meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler, there is great potential for washouts and flooding.
The system is powered by an atmospheric river, according to Brauweiler, which is very similar to what brought intense rain and flooding to British Columbia earlier this month.
Wind & lots of rain on the way. Here’s a look at the future tracker to time it. Precipitation rates can be up to 15-20 mm per hour for SW tm to wo. I also added the wind gusts. Wind gusts 100-140 km/h in areas prone to enhanced southeasterly directions. #nlwx pic.twitter.com/dMaGXh8f82
“Off the west coast, the rain drops dramatically, less than 30 millimeters, except in the higher ground where 30 to 50 millimeters are possible. Significant rainfall is possible from Tuesday evening through Wednesday along the strait in southern Labrador as well, by more than 50 millimeters,” she said.
Brauweiler added that the rain will be intense, with as much as 15 to 20 mm falling per hour.
‘It’s pretty scary stuff’
The impending storm has already canceled the crossing of the Atlantic for Monday and Tuesday, with communications head Darrell Mercer saying service could be affected until Thursday if the weather picks up completely.
“[Captains] want to see some predictions for the future before making a decision,” Mercer said.
Travelers planning to make the crossing are requested to contact the Marine Atlantic reservation line if they wish to make alternative arrangements.
The weather is also making residents in the Port aux Basques area brace themselves for the impact. According to Mayor Brian Button, crews in the city of Channel-Port aux Basques have been out and about all Monday to check storm drains and ensure residents are prepared.
“We have to prepare for the worst. In the best case scenario, we might only get 100mm of rain,” said Button. “But the prophecy and the eye of it all, it looks like it has the potential to be something that we haven’t seen in maybe 100 years or more. It’s pretty scary stuff.”
Button encourages residents to ensure sewers around private property are cleaned, have adequate food and water, and contact the city in the event of an emergency.
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