Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Newfoundland After Hurricane Igor

A week ago, I was relieved that Hurricane Igor didn’t turn in my direction. It stayed offshore, missing the North American mainland — but not Newfoundland.

The post-tropical remnants of hurricanes often brush by Newfoundland, but Igor was still very much a hurricane when it swept across the island, with 90 mph winds and 12 inches of rain in some areas, causing a surprising amount of damage for an island that is used to stormy weather. More than 100 stretches of road were washed away, including bridges that collapsed when flood waters undercut both banks. There aren’t a lot of extra roads in the hilly terrain of Newfoundland, so some towns are cut off from the rest of the island.

And they may stay that way until spring, authorities are now saying. Bridges can’t be rebuilt between now and winter, and there are too many damaged stretches of road to repair them all in just a few weeks. Rebuilding that can’t be done before the first big snow will resume in the spring. In the meantime, a few towns in Newfoundland may be a little more isolated than usual for the rest of the fall and through the winter.