Take heed when win­ter thaws are in the fore­cast

The Western Star - - EDITORIAL -

There seems to be a com­mon thread a year after flood­ing in western New­found­land that de­stroyed prop­erty and alerted peo­ple to global warm­ing and in­ci­dents that can be brought on by it.

There are those in de­nial of such in­ci­dents but a mid-win­ter thaw last year that brought high lev­els of wa­ter rush­ing down through val­leys caused de­struc­tion that was fa­mil­iar in some ar­eas but not in oth­ers.

But the com­mon thread is that al­though some ar­eas suf­fered flood­ing in the past, it was noth­ing like what oc­curred on Jan. 14 of 2018.

Talk to peo­ple who were there when it hap­pened and they’ll tell you that de­spite see­ing flood­ing be­fore, they never saw the likes of what took place on that day.

It was a first for Jake­man All-Grade School in Trout River in Gros Morne Na­tional Park where the rac­ing wa­ters came within feet of scoop­ing up the school had it not been for the quick ac­tion of con­trac­tors that were brought in to help and build up a bank be­hind the school.

In Noel’s Pond near Stephenville, the scene was not the same, as a lo­cal farm fam­ily lost a lot of prop­erty that was used for hay and lo­cal berry crops.

In Port au Port East there were peo­ple who had drive­ways de­stroyed by the high wa­ters but for­tu­nately the town coun­cil was quick to act and the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works came in to help but there were some who had to spend their own money for re­pairs.

There were mil­lions of dol­lars of dam­age in flood­ing at the same time in the Cor­ner Brook area that re­quired ex­ten­sive re­pairs.

As men­tioned, the com­mon thread is that while some of these ar­eas re­ceived as­sis­tance from the provin­cial gov­ern­ment for re­pairs, there is still the fact that no mat­ter what the dam­ages, peo­ple still have the fear that flood­ing in these lo­ca­tions will oc­cur again.

Yes, you can have en­gi­neers come in and as­sess the dam­ages and rec­om­mend what needs to be done and for the best part they are cor­rect — these prop­er­ties are safe to re­turn to.

How­ever, there are many that have been flooded in the past and will likely to be flooded again, es­pe­cially with ever chang­ing weather pat­terns. There was a time when win­ter was win­ter, and a freeze up oc­curred at a cer­tain time be­tween Novem­ber and De­cem­ber and usu­ally lasted un­til late Fe­bru­ary or into March.

Such is not the case any­more and as seen last year, thaws can oc­cur in the mid­dle of win­ter like it did in mid-Jan­uary. No­body is hop­ing for a re­cur­rence of that but if its in the fore­cast, peo­ple should be aware and be pre­pared for it.

There are usu­ally warn­ings of it com­ing and peo­ple need to take heed.

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