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Eastern Newfoundland, Labrador reeling in the wake of monster blizzard

Last Updated Jan 19, 2020 at 8:13 am PDT

The streets were quiet in St. John’s on Friday, January 17, 2020 as a major winter storm brought the city to a standstill. The City of St. John's has declared a state of emergency, ordering businesses closed and vehicles off the roads as blizzard conditions descend on the Newfoundland and Labrador capital. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Summary

Some are calling it, 'Snowmageddon 2020' in Newfoundland and Labrador

Parts of the province were blanketed with 70 centimetres of snow Friday night

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — States of emergency, as well as blizzard and storm surge warnings, remained in effect in parts of eastern Newfoundland and Labrador early Saturday morning.

This intense snowfall that buried St. John’s and many other communities bringing them to a standstill on Friday slowed overnight, and according to Environment Canada was expected to end Saturday morning.

But with more than 70 centimetres of new snow on the ground in some areas, and strong winds still piling up drifts and creating white out conditions, roads were likely to remain treacherous.

There have also been widespread power outages. Overnight Newfoundland Power said its crews were working to restore electricity for about 21,000 customers.

The City of St. John’s, as well as several nearby communities, declared states of emergency late Friday morning, ordering businesses closed and vehicles off the roads. All air traffic was also shut down.

At the peak of the storm, which some described as being like a blizzard in a hurricane, even snowplows were pulled off roads due to near zero visibility conditions.

While it remained unclear early Saturday morning exactly when the states of emergency might be lifted, municipal officials have advised residents of St. John’s to prepare emergency kits with enough supplies to last for at least 72 hours.

Authorities have also been urging residents to keep in contact with elderly neighbours and to continuously stay in touch with people if travelling in case of an emergency.

Digging out from the monster storm is likely to take several days, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tweeted that the federal government stands ready to help Newfoundland and Labrador “if needed.”