Take heed when winter thaws are in the forecast
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.