Windstorm cripples St. John’s International Airport, Canada

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The strongest storm to hit the region in over a decade has caused significant damage to St. John’s International Airport, Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The storm produced wind speeds of up to 180 km/h (112 mph) at its peak, causing significant power outages and damage to property across the province.

A powerful storm grounded flights at St. John's International Airport on Saturday, March 11, 2017, wreaking havoc on travel plans as the airport measured winds of up to 158 km/h (98 mph), the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. 

"The airport incurred significant damage to its facilities as a result of the wind storm that affected the region over the last few days," airport officials said Sunday.

"An electrical component in the Airport’s Terminal Electrical room was damaged, resulting in no electrical feed entering the Terminal Building. The Terminal Building is presently operating under back-up emergency power provided by two emergency generators as well as reduced normal power," they said.

In addition to the electrical feed, the Airport sustained damage to the following:

  • Two passenger loading bridges
  • Three light poles in the parking lot
  • Siding panels to the new building extension as well as existing terminal building
  • Four approach lighting towers to the main runway, out of a total of 230

Read more: Extreme winds wreak havoc in Newfoundland and Labrador

In an update posted Monday, March 13, officials said their staff continues to work around the clock to restore full normal power and bring key operational systems back online.

Heat has been restored in the building and we have isolated the leaks experienced due to systems being offline for an extended period of time.

"The Airport is operational and we are seeing continuous improvement," they said.

Environment Canada meteorologist Wanda Batten said peak wind speeds in some areas on Saturday, March 11 broke records previously held by hurricane Igor in 2010. "It was the strongest storm we've seen in more than a decade," she said Saturday. "It blew through three-quarters of the island."

The extreme winds on the back of the low brought extensive damage to much of eastern Newfoundland,” the government said. “Reports of damage include: power outages, tipped over trucks and trailers, siding and shingles ripped from buildings. In extreme cases, sheds, roofs, and the top floor to some houses were blown away.”

Featured image credit: UpperclassMedia

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