Western region digs out after heavy snowfall

Jamie Bennett
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Sanja Schuelke makes tracks in the snow as she walks along University Avenue in Corner Brook Sunday. — Photo by Geraldine Brophy/The Western Star

Winter has arrived with a vengeance in western Newfoundland.

Steady, often heavy, snow over the weekend made for difficult driving conditions throughout the region Sunday.

Environment Canada was calling for snow mixed with light rain as of Sunday afternoon. Snowfall amounts of as much as 10 centimetres were expected in the area through the evening.

A wind warning was also in effect, with easterly gusts in Corner Brook expected to be between 30 and 100 km/h throughout the day. Strong winds were also forecast for the Port aux Basques area, with gusts as high as 140 km/h in the Wreckhouse area Sunday afternoon.

Combined with the snow, the Baie Verte and eastern half of the Great Northern Peninsula were expected to see reduced visibility Sunday as between 15-25 centimetres of snow was dumped in the region.

The conditions made for another busy day for Corner Brook’s snow clearing crews.

Craig Kennedy, the City of Corner Brook’s superintendent of Public Works, said crews were working virtually around the clock throughout the weekend. As of Sunday afternoon, seven runs were completed and snow was being pushed back throughout the city.

He said crews were using brine as an anti-icing measure in order to make the heavy, packed snow easier to clear.

“The problem we have now it’s a heavy snow so it’s slower plowing,” Kennedy said Sunday. “We’re trying to get it pushed back a bit, but the runs are a little slower getting done where there’s so much heavy snow.”

Kennedy said his night crew would likely be called in early Sunday evening in anticipation of the looming blustery conditions.

In Corner Brook, Sgt. Madonna Carey of the RNC advised motorists to avoid driving if possible due to the slippery roads in the city. She said police responded to three accidents Friday and another three Saturday, incidents she said the inclement weather may have played a part in.

The severe weather led the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to close the access road from Port aux Basques to North Branch Saturday afternoon.

Highway conditions throughout the region were slippery and snow covered Sunday, with visibility described as poor between Plum Point and St. Anthony, as well as drifting, blowing snow in the Trout River gulch.

The nasty weather in the Cabot Strait and along the southwest coast led Marine Atlantic to cancel crossings between Port aux Basques and North Sydney Sunday evening. The cancellations were expected to remain in effect until weather conditions improved.

As of late Sunday afternoon, crossings aboard the MV Apollo were on schedule for the Strait of Belle Isle ferry service.

More snow was expected in the city today, with amounts between two to four centimetres and northwest wind gusts as high as 70 km/h in the morning.

The Western Star

Organizations: Public Works, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, North Branch Marine Atlantic

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Port aux Basques, Newfoundland.Steady Wreckhouse Baie Verte Plum Point St. Anthony Trout River North Sydney Western Star

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