Storm wreaks havoc throughout western Newfoundland

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By Cory Hurley, Frank Gale and Diane Crocker

CORNER BROOK  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.

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 the high winds and rough seas that often prove problematic for the ferry between Port aux Basques and North Sydney, N.S.

However, the resumption Monday didn’t last long as the 11:45 p.m. crossing out of Port aux Basques was later cancelled. According to the Marine Atlantic website, www.marine-atlantic.ca, passengers booked on that crossing have been rescheduled to depart at 11:45 a.m. today.

The changes also impacted traffic on the North Sydney crossing with passengers from Sunday and Monday morning rescheduled to a Monday night crossing that as of 9:30 p.m. was still listed as going ahead and those scheduled to cross Monday night rebooked to a 11:45 a.m. sailing this morning.

A spokesperson for the corporation said the forecast for the remainder of the week has staff preparing for more delays or cancellations. 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.

Roadways were snow covered and led to some treacherous driving conditions. The clean up Monday morning took longer than usual after the 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 of traffic before the plow was towed back onto its route.

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

Side streets in Corner Brook remained snow covered throughout the day, making it difficult to navigate. Some drivers got stuck trying to avoid approaching vehicles, attempting to get through the blankets of snow that measured in the feet in some places.

The RNC in Corner Brook reported no accidents as of Monday morning, but had received complaints of some motorists stuck.

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

Stephenville slammed by storm

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 snow event 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.

The Bay St. George RCMP didn’t receive any reports of accidents Monday morning, but some people noticed vehicles stuck in snow banks.

More expected Wednesday

Meanwhile, 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 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 on 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.

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

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Stephenville, Port aux Basques North Sydney Deer Lake Corner Brook Humber Village Port au Port Peninsula United States Northern Newfoundland

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