Newfoundland Windstorm Sends Canoe Flying Into Woman's Bedroom

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A Newfoundland woman says she's lucky to be alive after a canoe came through the side of her house during the weekend windstorm that battered much of the province and left many without power through Monday.

"The wind picked it up and just brought it right in through the side of my house. Right through the siding, Gyprock, insulation. It cracked off my headboard. I was in bed at the time. It came through everything," said Theresa Power, an office worker from Freshwater, N.L., an hour's drive northwest of St. John's.

"If the headboard wasn't there, I would have got hit in the head with the boat. The headboard was cracked in three pieces, and the top part of it ended up ... down on the end of the bed."

The canoe, which belonged to an unknown neighbour, was carried aloft at about 11:30 a.m. Saturday by hurricane-like winds during a storm that left a trail of damage through a wide swath of the province, with gusts of between 140 km/h and 160 km/h.

theresa power canoe wind storm
Theresa Power, an office worker from Freshwater, N.L., says a canoe came bursting through her bedroom during a nasty windstorm. (Photo: Courtesy Theresa Power)

theresa power canoe wind storm
Newfoundlander Theresa Power says this canoe was blown into her bedroom during a windstorm. (Photo: Courtesy Theresa Power)

"We were aware that a windstorm was coming on, but we thought people ... would have tied down their own property, right? Obviously whoever owned it, they didn't tie it down. Nobody is fessing up," Power said.

Newfoundland Power spokeswoman Michele Coughlan said veteran crews described the storm as worse than Hurricane Igor, which hit the southeastern part of the province in September 2010, swamping it with torrents of rain.

"We had 110 kilometre an hour sustained winds," she said of Saturday's storm. "We had cracked poles, broken cross arms, downed power lines, trees on lines and flying debris into power lines."

Crews continued Monday to tackle outages affecting thousands of customers in eastern Newfoundland.

"We had cracked poles, broken cross arms, downed power lines, trees on lines and flying debris into power lines."

Coughlan said 5,000 customers were still without power Monday morning — a figure down from the 70,000 that were affected at the height of the storm on Saturday. The utility hoped to restore power for most of the remaining customers by the end of the day on Monday.

Traffic moved slowly in St. John's on Monday after wind damage to about 142 traffic lights at 72 intersections, including some lights that were simply pulled off their moorings.

"Sometimes you get a heavy wind, you might see them let go and dangle, but I've never seen them come down," said St. John's Coun. Danny Breen, chair of the public works committee.

Damage evident around St. John's included slate tiles that were blown into an alley 100 metres from a downtown church. Roofs were also partly off several houses and buildings and a home in nearby Torbay had its top floor blown off.

theresa power canoe
Theresa Power, who lives in Freshwater, N.L., says a canoe came through her bedroom during the worst storm Newfoundland has seen in a decade. (Photo: Courtesy Theresa Power)

Breen said police reported that traffic moved "pretty smoothly" with no major collisions as of 10:30 a.m.

"We did take some precautions," said Breen. "We had a staggered opening of the government offices and the city offices to cut down on the rush hour traffic . . . and we also put a map online with the intersections that are affected."

Breen said the city does have a reserve of about 40 lights as replacements, but the majority would have to be ordered in — a process expected to take about five days.

The ongoing outages also led to a water conservation order issued for all residents in St. John's, Mount Pearl, Paradise, Portugal Cove-St. Phillips and Conception Bay South. Technical issues at the Bay Bulls Big Pond water treatment facility were cited as the cause.

Power outages

Eastern Health also closed clinics in Placentia and Trepassey because there was no power.

RCMP also reported that three people from the community of Norman's Cove-Long Cove were taken to hospital after a family member found them suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning Monday.

A police spokesman said two people were released and a third was still in hospital and expected to make a full recovery.

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