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Days of fog, poor weather posing challenges in northern Labrador town of Nain


ST. JOHN’S – An unrelenting period of heavy fog that has lingered for more than a week and grounded almost all flights is weighing on the Labrador community of Nain, which is inaccessible by road.

With the exception of a few hours on Thursday when the weather briefly cleared, planes carrying people and food have been unable to reach the town since the beginning of August, according to Air Borealis social media accounts.

Joe Dicker, the AngajukKak, or mayor, of Nain, said a few flights carrying people made it in and out of the coastal community on Thursday before the fog rolled back in.

A Facebook post Wednesday by Air Borealis, which flies to Labrador coastal communities, noted seven days of “continuous weather delays to coastal communities.” A post Thursday indicated one flight headed for Nain would depart that afternoon.

Dicker said residents have been admirably patient, but the lack of access to such perishable foods as vegetables, milk and bread has been difficult.

“Things that you normally wouldn’t care about too much, but when it’s not there, that’s a big void in your ability to choose your diet,” Dicker said.

Fog often rolls into Nain on summer evenings, but Dicker said this period has been abnormally long. He said vendors didn’t anticipate the long gap between deliveries.

“We didn’t predict that the weather would be this bad for this long,” he said.

Internet and long-distance calls were cut off from Saturday until Thursday evening, Dicker said, because the affected service tower was not accessible due to the weather.

Residents in one section of the community, which is about 360 kilometres north of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, have been without running water for two weeks because the weather has prevented crews from performing needed maintenance.

Water has been provided for those in the affected 18 houses, Dicker said, who on Thursday were into their second day without power since maintenance work began. He said town officials are hopeful one more day of work will allow for power and water to be turned back on.

Environment Canada meteorologist David Neil said there is little relief in the forecast for this weekend. Changes in the wind direction predicted early next week could improve visibility, but clouds and rain are still forecast.

Moist air flowing off the cold water onto warmer land has caused fog to form, Neil said. He said Nain is prone to prolonged fog, but such a lengthy period is noteworthy even though precise records are lacking.

“This has certainly been something that’s been quite long-lasting, and it isn’t something you see quite often, that’s for sure,” Neil said.

It’s made for rough summer weather in Nain, where temperatures have also been unseasonably chilly. “For the Nain area itself, actually, it just hasn’t been a good summer,” Neil said, noting that July in Nain was the coldest on record.

Once the weather improves, Dicker said he hopes food deliveries will be given priority.

“It’s kind of depressing to look at that forecast,” he said.

 

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