Post-tropical storm Leslie has moved out to sea, hours after its stiff winds and heavy rains pummelled Newfoundland, knocking out power to thousands and forcing the cancellation of all flights at the island's main airport.
Jean-Marc Couturier, a forecaster with the Canadian Hurricane Centre, said Leslie passed through Cape Bonavista in northeastern Newfoundland early Tuesday afternoon (local time), and headed out to the Atlantic as a post-tropical storm.
Chris Fogarty, a manager with the hurricane centre, said rain showers ended early Tuesday evening and winds, gusting at 80 kph on Tuesday afternoon, will diminish significantly as the storm moves further offshore. He said storm warnings have been cancelled across the island.
Several towns along eastern Newfoundland had already lost power and flights were cancelled before the storm made landfall Tuesday.
Tree branches blocked several roads and there were multiple reports of roofs being blown off. Power was knocked out throughout St. John's, Newfoundland's capital, and communities along the southeastern coast of the Avalon peninsula, and all flights at the airport were cancelled.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale said there were no reports of serious injuries or major evacuations. Seven St. John's families were relocated after their social housing units were damaged in the roaring gale, she said.
Leslie was not as ferocious as Hurricane Igor, which pounded Newfoundland as a Category 1 hurricane almost two years ago and caused about CA$125 million in damages, the Halifax-based hurricane centre said. Igor was also blamed for one death.
"More rain was spread out over the island, but the severity of the storm certainly was thankfully not as strong as Igor," said Couturier.
The storm made landfall Tuesday morning, touching down in Fortune, Newfoundland, at about 8:30 am and barrelled north at about 65 kph before moving offshore, the Canadian Hurricane Centre said.
The centre initially said Leslie was a tropical storm when it made landfall, but later said it was a post-tropical storm.
The storm had buffeted areas around St. John's with winds that gusted up to 131 kph, causing damage to roofs, trees, roads, Environment Canada meteorologist Bob Robichaud said. Waves were reaching 10 meters at an offshore buoy.
Extensive power outages forced St. John's to close all municipal buildings except City Hall. Schools were also shut down.
At the height of the storm, approximately 100,000 customers on the Avalon Peninsula and St. John's lost power, said Michele Coughlan, a spokeswoman with Newfoundland Power. About 40,000 households remained without power Tuesday afternoon.
Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro spokeswoman Alex Collins said the utility experienced one transmission outage.
Some residents faced the blustery weather to take pictures of trees uprooted in Bannerman Park.
"It's pretty intense," said Holly Walsh, who was out storm chasing after classes for her therapeutic recreation course were cancelled. "I've never seen this before."
Walsh said the force of the wind blew her down at nearby Cape Spear, the most easterly point of North America, as it ripped the doors off three cars.
Striking airport workers who briefly picketed outside braved powerful wind gusts that picked up a port-a-potty tied down by a rope.
Inside the airport, stranded passengers gazed up at electronic boards red with cancellations before the power cut out and they went black.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police tweeted a photo of a truck blown over onto its side on the Trans-Canada Highway, west of St. John's.
Municipal Affairs Minister Kevin O'Brien, responsible for emergency services, said it will be at least a couple of weeks before there's any cost estimate for Leslie.Also in the Atlantic, Michael weakened to a tropical storm early Tuesday with maximum sustained winds near 100 kph.
Additional weakening was expected and the storm was expected to fizzle out in about a day. The storm was not a threat to land.