While an overturned tractor trailer is a common sight to see at Wreckhouse, Owen Bennett of St. George’s couldn’t believe it happened to him right in Stephenville on Thursday morning.
“It was like something happening in slow motion,” he said of the transport truck he was driving ending up on its side on the road leading to Little Port Harmon.
Bennett, a driver for Harvey Gale and Son Ltd. in Stephenville, was on his way to drop off an empty trailer as the company is hauling for Northern Lights Seafood Inc., when it occurred.
He said when he left the garage on Carolina Avenue in Stephenville, there was a wind blowing but it didn’t seem too bad.
“It certainly wasn’t like a Wreckhouse (a location near Codroy Valley notorious for high winds) wind,” Bennett said.
It was about 6:45 a.m., while driving along Massachusetts Drive near Harmon Seaside Links, that a heavy gust of wind hit the side of the trailer.
“I felt like I was floating for a minute. I was trying to hold on to the truck and trailer and all of a sudden it just slammed right over on its side,” he said. “It’s the first I ever heard of a truck going over on that road.”
Bennett said he wasn’t hurt at all and as a first responder he’s aware of his tolerance.
He knew he had to get out of the vehicle to ensure everything was OK and something else wasn’t going to make matters worse.
Bennett first checked to see if there was any fuel or oil leaking and the vehicle was off the road to ensure the public’s safety and the environment wasn’t going to be harmed.
It was only then he got someone to pick him up and, despite the incident, went back to work for the day at the garage.
He wasn’t surprised to hear winds that exceeded 130 km/h in Stephenville were recorded at Stephenville airport at about 7 a.m. that morning
The easterly wind that peaked at 70.7 knots (130.9 km/h) also uprooted trees, cracked off utility poles, stripped flashings from buildings, lifted shingles from roofs (mostly on new builds) and blew the back out of a shed in Stephenville.
In Stephenville Crossing, a utility trailer owned by Barachois Search and Rescue flipped wheels up in the compound behind their building.
The Bay St. George YMCA closed due to loose flashing blowing around and flashing on other buildings could be seen flapping in the wind.
A canopy was also blown off a boat docked at Little Port Harmon and the trailer portion of a tractor trailer blew over at the location.
A.J. Felix, a weather observer at Stephenville airport, said while the winds peaked at about 130 km/h at 7 a.m. there were other recordings at around 60 knots (111.12 km/h).
Crews with Curtis Powerworks were busy Thursday replacing four utility poles that cracked off in Stephenville.