NEWS

Newfoundland braces for freezing rain as power is restored

01/07/2014 05:26 EST | Updated 03/09/2014 05:59 EDT
Freezing rain is falling across much of Newfoundland today, giving new worries to utilities that have managed to keep the island's electrical system intact after days of outages.

There were also new problems in Labrador, which has missed out on rolling blackouts that have been part of daily life in most of Newfoundland since last Thursday. Crews were dispatched to L'Anse au Loup, where severe weather had knocked out power Tuesday morning. Power was out in other southern Labrador communities, including Forteau and L'Anse au Clair. 

Freezing rain in western Newfoundland prompted authorities to warn drivers to take "extreme caution" on some highways, particularly between Corner Brook and Port aux Basques. Newfoundland and Labrador's Department of Transportation asked drivers to stay off the highway leading to Burgeo. 

Newfoundland Power was reporting few outages early Tuesday morning, and did not have to impose rolling blackouts overnight.

Nonetheless, schools across Newfoundland stayed close on Tuesday, as did Memorial University and island-based campuses of the College of the North Atlantic. That unusual move was made Sunday to help utilities recover from a series of problems that have caused havoc with the electrical grid. 

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, which generates the energy that Newfoundland Power distributes, has made solid gains in restoring power that has been compromised across its network, particularly at its oil-burning plant in Holyrood.

Out-of-province workers to help

Dawn Dalley, a vice-president with Crown-owned Nalcor Energy, said warmer temperatures on Tuesday morning were helping to limit the consumer demand on electricity for home heating. 

Tuesday's weather is posing new challenges with freezing rain expected to be followed by both a strong warmup, with temperatures reaching 7 C, and then a deep freeze.

Environment Canada issued rain, freezing rain and wind warnings for much of the island.

Newfoundland Power is arranging to bring in line workers from outside the province to help with a myriad number of problems.

However, six workers from Prince Edward Island were not able to travel because of flight cancellations. The crew will try to land in the province later Tuesday.

Numerous flights in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as other cities in eastern Canada, were cancelled early Tuesday as a weather system moved through the region.

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