States of emergency have been declared in at least 30 towns in Newfoundland as Hurricane Igor walloped the province with heavy rain, flooding and high winds, leaving one person missing.

An 80-year-old man was swept out to sea when a driveway collapsed underneath him in Random Island in Britannia, about 100 kilometres northwest of St. John's, according to reports.

"Due to inclement weather a search has been difficult. Local residents are the only ones who are able to search the area due to the impassable roads," an RCMP statement said.

Many communities declared states of emergency due to heavy flooding which washed out roads and winds of up to 145 km/h.

"It appears we have a very serious situation on our hands," Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams said.

Marystown Mayor Sam Synard said the community has been overwhelmed by more than 200 millimetres of rain, and called the storm the most violent he's seen.

"Very few, if any communities in the country, could deal with that amount of rainfall," he said. "We've lost sections of our main roads, completely washed out to sea."

"It really overwhelmed our infrastructure," he said. "We had too much rain in too short a time."

Some 50 families had to be relocated to local schools in Clarenville due to fears they would be stranded by washed-out roads, said town council member Keith Rodway.

"We've pretty much shut down the entire town," he said. "We've moved at least 50 families away from an area below a dam that's a reservoir for our fish plant."

Some of the Burin Peninsula's 20,000 residents were stranded in their homes, or had to be rescued by boat due to the heavy volume of rain. Police say roads there have been submerged or swept away and the only bridge connecting the area to the Trans-Canada Highway has been damaged.

"We can't get to the bridge. We're hearing it has certainly deteriorated enough that it's impassable," Sgt. Wayne Edgecombe said. "Whether it's collapsed or it's impassable, it doesn't really make any difference -- we can't get across it."

NTV's Fred Hutton said phone service and electricity are out on the peninsula and police have put roadblocks in place to keep non-essential personnel out of the area.

Dennis Shea, manager of the Emergency and Fire Services office, said that the rainfall "has overwhelmed and is in excess of most of the infrastructure that exists."

Schools have been closed and flights have been delayed or cancelled at the St. John's International Airport.

By 5 p.m. local time, the National Hurricane Center said Igor was located 200 kilometres northeast of St. John's headed km south of Cape Race moving north-northeast at 63 km/h. It has been downgraded to a post-tropical storm.

Residents were warned Tuesday to prepare for power failures, flooding and heavy rains. Cities and towns were clearing storm sewers, drains and catch basins to maximize drainage as the hurricane approached.

"We're as ready as we possibly can be ready," Dennis O'Keefe, the mayor of St. John's told The Canadian Press. "Every precaution and every action that can be taken by city crews in preparation for that storm has been put in place."

With files from The Canadian Press