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The heavy rain of tropical storm Igor damaged the Caribou Monument in Bowring Park in St. John's. The monument recognizes the contibution of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment at the battle of Beaumont Hamel (Paul Daly for The Globe and Mail)
The heavy rain of tropical storm Igor damaged the Caribou Monument in Bowring Park in St. John's. The monument recognizes the contibution of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment at the battle of Beaumont Hamel (Paul Daly for The Globe and Mail)

St. John's cleans up following Hurricane Igor Add to ...

As 300 runners make their way around St. John's on Sunday for Newfoundland's provincial marathon, they will pass felled trees and construction crews working on collapsed bridges, winding their way down roads just recently cleared of floodwater.

The city is cleaning up from Hurricane Igor, which struck the province on Tuesday, bringing with it winds of up to 160 kilometres an hour, dropping more than 250 millimetres of rain in some areas, flooding homes and washing out roads including part of the Trans-Canada Highway.

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One man was killed in the storm: 80-year-old Allan Duffett, who was swept away by floodwater near his home on Random Island, northwest of St. John's, after the pavement disappeared beneath his feet as he surveyed the mounting damage.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to tour the province by helicopter on Saturday after flying to St. John's from meetings at the United Nations in New York. Mr. Harper has promised disaster relief funds to the province, while Premier Danny Williams has said residents will be compensated for any repairs they make themselves.

More than 30 communities declared states of emergency before the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm, and 50,000 people lost power to their homes.

On Friday, more than a third of the Bonavista Peninsula remained without power, and Newfoundland officials were estimating the damage as more severe than that caused by tropical storm Chantal in 2007, which cost the province $25-million.

In St. John's, Paul Mackey, the city's director of public works, said the cleanup is progressing well and the main focus has been clearing trees knocked down by the storm.

"That's the biggest issue and is going to be the longest part of the cleanup," he said. "It's a loss to the city, that's for sure."

He estimates that more than 2,000 trees were uprooted, including more than 40 in the city's Bowring Park, where this weekend's marathon will conclude. Among the park's victims was a 94-year-old lime tree planted by The Duke of Connaught at the official opening of the park in 1914.

Mr. Mackey said the city has opened three sites where people can bring trees downed on private property, and will also be doing curbside collection. Most of St. John's 400 city workers have been diverted to full-time hurricane cleanup, he said, while water and sewer crews respond to flooding issues.

"We were fortunate because originally the hurricane was tracking directly toward us," he said. "Areas about 150 kilometers west of us were hit much harder, particularly in terms of the rainfall. They had some huge amounts of flooding."

Rob Briggs, the director of this weekend's Huffin' Puffin Marathon, said he worries that some participants will not be able to make it to the city due to washed-out roads. But he said St. John's is recovering well, and expects the race course to be free of debris by Sunday.

"They're cleaning up pretty fast," he said. "And every time I think this is a bad storm, I just remind myself it isn't Pakistan."

Editor's Note: Trees were uprooted in St. John's Bowring Park. Incorrect information appeared in an earlier online version of this story. This version has been corrected.

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