IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Newfoundland dodges bullet with Hurricane Maria

/ Source: The Associated Press

Hurricane Maria made landfall in eastern Newfoundland as a Category 1 storm on Friday, but officials said the worst winds were offshore and there were no early reports of injuries or significant property damage.

After making landfall, Maria was quickly downgraded to a tropical storm. Chris Fogarty, a meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Centre, said Newfoundland avoided the worst of the hurricane. Weather officials lifted the hurricane warning for southeastern Newfoundland.

"The worst wind stayed just offshore," Fogarty said in an interview. "A major bullet was dodged by the look of it."

Many Newfoundlanders hunkered down at home in the Atlantic Canadian province. Schools were closed. Fogarty said the latest forecast calls for 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain in some areas — less than originally expected.

Fogarty said the highest winds on land reached 64 mph (103 kph) on the southern tip of the Avalon peninsula where Maria made landfall. The highest wind speeds were recorded offshore where they peaked at 77 mph (124 kph).

The storm comes a year after Hurricane Igor tore through eastern Newfoundland as a Category 1 storm. One man died as Igor washed out roads, swept away bridges and caused nearly $200 million in damage to almost 200 communities.

Fogarty said Maria isn't much of a threat as far as flooding is concerned because it is moving so quickly.

The province's Fire and Emergency Services issued a statement saying residents should prepare for damaged buildings and power outages.

The storm wasn't expected to have much impact on Newfoundland's offshore oil platforms and vessels. Fogarty said Maria's rapid forward speed would prevent her from churning up the waves beyond six meters (20 feet) on the Grand Banks.

Coastal Labrador is expected to see strong winds and large waves on Saturday as two weather systems collide.