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Port aux Basques fights floods just weeks after devastation from post-tropical storm Fiona

The town of Port aux Basques experienced minor flooding Saturday as the remnants of post-tropical storm Nicole brought the town heavy rain. Port aux Basques resident Rosalyn Roy saw flooding at the Big Bridge Hill outside her home. (Submitted by Rosalyn Roy)

A rainstorm brought flooding and other complications to Port aux Basques on Saturday, as the town continues to grapple with the devastating effects of post-tropical storm Fiona.

“Anytime we’re having weather such as what we had yesterday, it becomes very stressful for both our crews and for staff, and for the residents, because there’s still a lot of unknowns,” said the town’s Mayor Brian Button.

“Fiona is trying to keep a long legacy here, and it hasn’t let up.”

The remnants of post-tropical storm Nicole hit much of Newfoundland on Saturday with a mixed bag of weather, with many areas across the island experiencing snow, heavy rain and ice pellets.

Port aux Basques saw the highest amount of rain Saturday, said Environment Canada meteorologist Tiffany Cheeks, with about 84 millimeters of rain.

People in safety vests and raincoats look at pool of water that has flooded near houses.
Port aux Basques mayor Brian Button says the town had to bring in additional staff to help respond to calls. (Submitted by Rosalyn Roy)

The residents of Port aux Basques are no strangers to rain, but due to significant infrastructural damage caused by Fiona, Button said Saturday’s rainstorm brought a series of new challenges.

Button said town crews were responding to calls all day, attending to issues such as flooding basements and sewer back-ups.

“We were having so many calls that we had to bring in additional staff,” said Button.

“We had to bring in some extra crews … because there was just too many calls for the crews that we did have out to answer and respond to.”

Some residents whose homes weren’t affected by Fiona experienced damage for the first time on Saturday, said Button, while other residents discovered damage they weren’t previously aware of, such as a plugged up storm drain.

“I know for myself yesterday, you’ve had people saying, ‘You need to take a break,'” said Button. “But when that weekend comes and this type of weather comes, it becomes a very stressful event.”

Minor flooding

When Port aux Basques resident Rosalyn Roy arrived home Saturday afternoon, she says she noticed flooding at Big Bridge Hill, which is just a street away from her house.

Roy, who works with the independent newspaper Wreckhouse Weekly, said she got out of her car and stood in the pouring rain to take a picture of the flood. She said crews from the town quickly arrived to drain the area.

“You could see the water levels going down,” said Roy. “They did an awesome job of just responding quickly so it wouldn’t damage homes or anything like that.”

Roy said many residents are used to heavy rainfall, so Saturday’s rainstorm didn’t come as an immediate cause of concern or shock. She said at this point, residents look at the situation as just another thing they have to overcome. 

Red pick-up truck surrounded by flooding water.
Button says crews were responding to calls all day, attending to issues such as flooding basements and sewer back-ups. (Submitted by Rosalyn Roy)

“Normally this would be no big thing,” said Roy, “but because Fiona has damaged a lot of the shoreline infrastructure… this turned into a minor flooding situation. Normally, it wouldn’t be the case.”

The rainstorm tapered off heading into Sunday, so Button says the town will continue clean-up efforts and attempt to fix damage caused by Fiona, some of which he hopes to solve before the town heads into winter.

“People are on edge every time we have a weather forecast that comes in, so we’re trying to work through that as well,” said Button.

“Fiona left us in quite the mess.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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