Winds and rain batter Newfoundland

The strong winds and heavy rain of post-tropical storm Leslie have lashed Newfoundland as the storm made landfall, knocking out power in several towns and forcing the cancellation of all flights at the island's main airport.

The storm was buffeting areas around St John's, Newfoundland's capital, with winds that gusted up to 81mph, causing damage to roofs, trees and roads, Environment Canada meteorologist Bob Robichaud said.

"There are very strong winds to the right hand side of the track," he said. "We've seen some fairly heavy, intense rainfall as the storm was approaching and one of the things we're looking closely at are the winds."

Several towns along eastern Newfoundland had already lost power and flights were cancelled before the storm made landfall.

Tree branches blocked several roads and there were multiple reports of roofs being blown off. Power was knocked out throughout St John's and communities along the south-eastern coast of the Avalon peninsula.

The storm touched down in Fortune, Newfoundland, the Canadian Hurricane Centre said. The centre initially said Leslie was a tropical storm when it made landfall, but later said it was a post-tropical storm.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre predicted at least 12 hours of intense rain over the north-eastern province's hilly terrain, which could generate rapid run-offs, said the agency's programme supervisor Chris Fogarty.

Leslie was not expected to be quite as ferocious as Hurricane Igor, which left some parts of Newfoundland without power for several days in 2010, the Halifax-based hurricane centre said.

Environment Canada issued weather alerts for the entire island of Newfoundland, with tropical storm warnings and hurricane watches in the south and east. The storm was expected to brush into southern Labrador.

Leslie was also expected to drench parts of Prince Edward Isle and Nova Scotia, where rain warnings were also issued.