Western Newfoundland digs out after snowstorm

Staff ~ The Western Star
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Marine Atlantic braces for delays, cancellations

With western Newfoundland recovering from a late Sunday and early Monday storm, staff at Marine Atlantic are preparing for a few bumps throughout the rest of the week.

John Sheppard uses his blower to clear out the driveway of a neighbour on Duchess Drive in Stephenville following a heavy dumping of snow Sunday night and into Monday morning. — Photo by Frank Gale/The Western Star

Ferries were docked Sunday, riding out the storm that whipped through the western region of the province. The sailings resumed Monday afternoon following a break in high winds and rough seas that often prove problematic for the ferry between Port aux Basques and North Sydney, N.S.

A spokesperson for the corporation said the forecast for the remainder of the week has staff preparing for expected delays or possible cancellations over the upcoming days. Travellers are encouraged to monitor advisories for further information.

There were many delayed starts to the school day, and some schools shut their doors for the morning. The closures and delays extended to post-secondary institutions, too — including Grenfell Campus, the College of the North Atlantic and Academy Canada.

Roads were snow-covered and led to some treacherous driving conditions.

The cleanup Monday morning took longer than usual after blustery conditions led to snowclearing equipment being removed from the roads between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Some highways were reduced to one lane of traffic, a thoroughfare carved out by motorists themselves or a single plow that had gone through in only one direction. One piece of snowclearing equipment went off the road near Humber Village, reducing the road to one lane before the plow was towed back onto its route.

RCMP Traffic Services in Deer Lake said there were no significant problems reported as of Monday morning, despite the treacherous driving conditions.

Travel also proved difficult at Deer Lake airport. A morning flight from St. John’s was delayed, while another one from Stephenville was cancelled.

Many Stephenville residents were still digging out Monday afternoon.

Jerome Hynes, a weather observer at Stephenville airport, said a total of 27 centimetres of snow fell between 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday morning. Just prior to midnight Sunday, the airport recorded wind gusts between 25 and 35 km/h.

The heavy snowfall resulted in morning school closures in Stephenville, Stephenville Crossing and St. George’s, along with most schools on the Port au Port Peninsula. While all the schools outside Stephenville in the Bay St. George area re-opened for afternoon classes, the Stephenville schools — primary, elementary, middle, high and pathfinder — remained closed for the day.

A Provincial Airlines flight into Stephenville was delayed Monday morning due to weather, but was expected in at 4 p.m.


More expected tomorrow

On Environment Canada’s website, it was posted that another messy winter system is expected to affect Newfoundland on Wednesday.

A low-pressure system is forecast to move off the eastern United States late Tuesday and approach Newfoundland on Wednesday night, bringing a mix of snow, rain and strong winds across the island.

This system has the potential to bring significant snowfall amounts and blowing snow to western and northern Newfoundland throughout the day and overnight.

As this system is yet to develop, there remains some uncertainty with respect to the intensity and track of this system and the public is advised to monitor future forecasts and warnings, as warnings may be required.


The Western Star

Organizations: College of the North Atlantic and Academy Canada.Roads, Marine Atlantic, RCMP Traffic Services Environment Canada

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Port aux Basques, North Sydney Deer Lake Humber Village Port au Port Peninsula United States Northern Newfoundland Western Star

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