ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Tropical storm Leslie pelted Newfoundland on Tuesday, unleashing hurricane-force winds on a large swath of the province's east coast and drenching rains in the west.

Officials with the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax said the centre of the storm made landfall at around 8:30 a.m. local time in Fortune, N.L., following its anticipated track to the Burin Peninsula.

Meteorologist Bob Robichaud said the potent storm was buffeting areas around St. John's with winds that gusted up to 131 km/h, causing damage to roofs, roads and power lines and triggering widespread outages.

THE STORM, IN PHOTOS (Story continues below)
Loading Slideshow...
  • Signage poles and downed power lines lay in the streets of St. John's, Newfoundland on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. Tropical Storm Leslie's stiff winds and heavy rains lashed Newfoundland as the storm made landfall Tuesday, knocking out power in several towns and forcing the cancellation of all flights at the island's main airport. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Daly)

  • Large mature trees lay uprooted in Bannerman Park in St. John's, Newfoundland on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. Tropical Storm Leslie's stiff winds and heavy rains lashed Newfoundland as the storm made landfall Tuesday, knocking out power in several towns and forcing the cancellation of all flights at the island's main airport. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Daly)

  • @GLSTKS Roche st. Sin. #eastendproblens #nlwx #Leslie

  • Source: @DrSpringfoot Lines Down Near Longs Hill Intersection. Main Road Fine. #nltrafic #Leslie #Had2LegIt

  • Source: ‏@VictoriaMWard Poor Bannerman Park, can't catch a break #leslie #nlwx

  • Source: @reneefancey Fyi, found out what the #!$@ that was #leslie

  • ‏@SimplyLoriB Who decides it's a good idea to anchor their trees with their car? My neighbor! *shakes head* #leslie

  • ‏@hillier_c Mail boxes knocked down in Paradise. #cbcnl #leslie

  • Source: @GregccSmith Well, a tree got nan's car #leslie #vocmnews

  • @loakley7 what a stink #Leslie

  • Source: @weathernetwork Waves crashing over the breakwater in Dildo, NL. Dramatic pic by Ginger Harnum. #Leslie

  • @CobieLyn: Oh boy #Leslie is packin a punch here today... My sister playset for the kids ... RIP playset.

  • Source: @weathernetwork The Weather Network 43m Roof partially torn off in Mount Pearl. Pic by J. Ruby #Leslie

  • Source: @CStokescbc Drain ditch installed after Igor doing its job. No flooding in Gambo. Rain tapering off now. #leslie #cbcnl

  • Source: @TelegramJames MacDonald Drive. This is what happens when a power line *almost* goes down. Very dangerous. #telynl #leslie

  • Source: @sdpuddicombe #leslie waves are big in maddow cove nl but the sun is out

  • @Tarpo The waves aren't supposed to move that direction. But the mist looks cool #leslie

  • Andrew_Buckle House coming part in Pleasantville in St. John's.

  • Andrew_Buckle Walkway at RCMP HQ in St. Johns exploded from the wind. #Leslie

  • CBCNL Pieces of the pedway connecting Aquarena and The Works have been blown out by #leslie. Westerland closed #nltraffic

  • Dizzy_83 Lots of tree debris on Waterford bridge road, rnc on scene #nlwx #leslie #nltraffic

  • A power line leans over a street in St. John's, Newfoundland on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. Tropical Storm Leslie's stiff winds and heavy rains lashed Newfoundland as the storm made landfall Tuesday, knocking out power in several towns and forcing the cancellation of all flights at the island's main airport. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Daly)

  • Someone's lovely deck collapsed in Paradise, NL. Photo by Jason Pike. #Leslie

  • Source: @reneefancey Um ya, so in case you can't tell that's a tree hanging upside down on a powerline... #leslie http://yfrog.com/nv35971072j

  • Source: @allisonelizabet One casualty in our backyard so far! :-( #leslie pic.twitter.com/53x1JdOy

  • Source: @afistfulofsky Debris every freaking where. #leslie http://twitpic.com/atgxvb

  • Source: @philipharr Sun. Still blowing a gale #nlwx #leslie pic.twitter.com/1kKO1XF0

  • Source: @themattsheppard My neighbour's Corvette attacked by his shed. #leslie pic.twitter.com/5X3ze7hF

  • Source: @pegnorman Missing your roof sheeting? Near Gower & Prescott. pic.twitter.com/5zDRx2Iu

  • Source: @justinbolt11 @ryansnoddon Center of the storm? Photo from Marystown about 30 mins ago pic.twitter.com/OlRxi62a

  • Source: @AdamLundrigan Major gust in center-city just split my neighbor's maple tree #nlwx #leslie pic.twitter.com/UIBp8gG3

  • Residents take photos of a flooded area after dikes on the Salmon River gave way in Truro, Nova Scotia on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. The area is under a rainfall warning as Tropical Storm Leslie churns toward Atlantic Canada. Leslie is expected to make landfall in Newfoundland bringing heavy rain and high winds. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Andrew Vaughan)

  • Workers head to the Colchester Legion Stadium after dikes on the Salmon River gave way, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. The area is under a rainfall warning as Tropical Storm Leslie churns toward Atlantic Canada. Leslie is expected to make landfall in Newfoundland bringing heavy rain and high winds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

  • Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry, left, and Truro-Bible Hill Member of the Legislative Assembly Lenore Zann tour flooded areas after dikes on the Salmon River and North River gave way in Truro, Nova Scotia on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. The area is under a rainfall warning as Tropical Storm Leslie churns toward Atlantic Canada. Leslie is expected to make landfall in Newfoundland bringing heavy rain and high winds. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Andrew Vaughan)

  • A vehicle sits outside a flooded car dealership lot after dikes on the Salmon River gave way in Truro, Nova Scotia on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. The area is under a rainfall warning as Tropical Storm Leslie churns toward Atlantic Canada. Leslie is expected to make landfall in Newfoundland bringing heavy rain and high winds. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Andrew Vaughan)

  • A resident looks on as dikes on the Salmon River gave way in Truro, Nova Scotia on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. The area is under a rainfall warning as Tropical Storm Leslie churns toward Atlantic Canada. Leslie is expected to make landfall in Newfoundland bringing heavy rain and high winds. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Andrew Vaughan)

  • A resident watches the water as dikes on the Salmon River gave way in Truro, Nova Scotia on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. The area is under a rainfall warning as Tropical Storm Leslie churns toward Atlantic Canada. Leslie is expected to make landfall in Newfoundland bringing heavy rain and high winds. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Andrew Vaughan)

  • A surfer paddles out into waves generated by Tropical Storm Leslie, at Lawrencetown Beach near Halifax, Novascotia, on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. Leslie is expected to make landfall in Newfoundland early in the week bringing heavy rain and high winds. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Andrew Vaughan)

  • A surfer rides a wave, generated by tropical storm Leslie, at Lawrencetown Beach near Halifax on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. Leslie is expected to make landfall in Newfoundland early in the week bringing heavy rain and high winds.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

  • A surfer checks out the waves in Cow Bay, N.S. near Halifax on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, as tropical storm Leslie churns toward Atlantic Canada. Leslie is expected to make landfall in Newfoundland bringing heavy rain and high winds.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

  • This NOAA satellite image taken Monday, September 10, 2012 at 10:45 AM EDT shows Tropical Storm Leslie as it moves northward towards Newfoundland. Leslie is expected to weaken as it brushes the eastern Canadian providence. Smaller sized Hurricane Michel is also weakening as it moves westward. Michael is still a Category 1 storm with winds of 80 mph but is expected to become a Tropical Storm overnight.(AP PHOTO/WEATHER UNDERGROUND)


"There are very strong winds to the right hand side of the track," he said. "We've seen some fairly heavy, intense rainfall as the storm was approaching and one of the things we're looking closely at are the winds."

The St. John's airport recorded hurricane-force gusts of up to 131 km/h, while a buoy in Placentia Bay recorded waves exceeding 12 metres.

Robichaud said hurricane watches were still in effect for areas to the right of the track, largely on the Avalon Peninsula.

Power was knocked out throughout St. John's and communities along the southeastern coast of the Avalon, and all flights at the airport were cancelled.

Striking airport workers who briefly picketed outside braved powerful wind gusts that picked up a port-a-potty tied down by a rope.

"This is my first time taking strike action and I guess the weather just makes it a little more interesting," said Steve Piercey, a building maintenance worker originally from Fortune, N.L.

"We're used to weather like this. At least a couple of times a year we get big storms. This is par for the course, being a Newfoundlander. We're tough."

Piercey was working at the airport almost two years ago when hurricane Igor hit on Sept. 21, 2010.

Igor seemed much worse, he said.

Inside the airport, stranded passengers gazed up at electronic boards red with cancellations before the power cut out and they went black.

"On the Trans-Canada (Highway) it's windy. It's almost like the wind's going to push you off the road," said Christopher Cumby, who drove into St. John's from the Trinity Bay region. "It's not really bad rain-wise but the wind is really bad."

Cumby was trying to make his way back to Fort McMurray, Alta., for work, but his chartered flight was delayed.

"Nah," he said when asked if the weather scares him. "I might get to stay home an extra day."

The RCMP tweeted a photo of a truck blown over onto its side on the Trans-Canada Highway, west of St. John's.

The City of St. John's issued a notice early Tuesday that all municipal buildings, except City Hall, were closing for the morning due to extensive power outages. Schools and some health clinics in the area were also shut down.

On the west coast of Newfoundland, there were concerns about flooding as the storm's heaviest rainfall — about 100 millimetres or more were forecast for some areas — drenched the region.

The centre cautioned that tree damage, power outages and property damage would likely result from the strong winds.

Bands of rain were extending out ahead of Leslie, dousing some areas on the Burin and Avalon Peninsulas with 25 mm of rain an hour.

Much-smaller hurricane Michael is well to the east of Leslie and is expected to dissipate east of the Grand Banks over the next day or two.

Many Newfoundlanders hunkering down ahead of the storm were hit hard by hurricane Igor two years ago.

One of them, Patricia Devine of Clarenville in southeastern Newfoundland, said Monday that she is "very nervous" and "saying a lot of prayers."

Devine was among many residents who spent Monday stocking up on food and water and ensuring they had flashlights, batteries and emergency numbers at hand.

Read it on Global News: Global Edmonton | Leslie makes landfall in Fortune, N.L., brings lashing rains, stiff winds