Treacherous driving conditions with poor visibility due to persistent whiteout conditions is what motorists had to endure Wednesday as a blizzard warning remained in effect for the west coast.
Sgt. Lori Canning of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said members of Traffic Services West spent most of Wednesday morning patrolling the highway.
She said driving conditions weren’t very good in the Deer Lake area, with slippery sections and poor visibility throughout the region.
There wasn’t much traffic moving on the highway, according to police, and that’s viewed as good news because police are encouraging people to stay off the roads unless it’s absolutely necessary to travel.
Fortunately, as of late Wednesday morning, there were no accidents reported. The only call for service involved a transport truck with an empty load getting stuck on a steep incline on one of the access roads to the city, but there were no injuries or damages to the vehicle.
It was slow moving in Corner Brook, with a frosty wind blowing snow around and causing poor visibility, but Sgt. Greg Poole of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said there were no accidents to report despite the poor driving conditions.
Poole said people should refrain from driving in whiteout conditions and stay home unless they have no other alternative but to travel with a nasty wind making it impossible to see a foot in front of you at times on Wednesday.
It’s also been a few quiet days for members of the Corner Brook Fire Department. A department spokesman told The Star it was fairly quiet over the holiday season and there were no calls for assistance up to noon hour on Wednesday.
But it was a challenging day for city crews who were busy cleaning up the mess after city residents had a few days to celebrate a break from the daily grind.
Nobody was made available for an interview at the city but, in an email, the city’s director of public works, water and wastewater, Don Burden, said city operators were busy plowing and sanding the roads despite the challenge of high winds and poor visibility throughout the day.
Burden said one plow is in the shop for some quick repairs, but all other equipment was in use and the focus was on getting the main thoroughfares cleaned up before operators tackle the side roads.
He said city crews would continue plowing throughout the day and night until everything is cleaned up. He said the weather was slowing down city crews but it wasn’t deemed bad enough to take equipment off the roads.
According to the latest from Environment Canada, a blizzard warning remains in effect for Corner Brook area and most of the west coast of the province with flurries and snow squalls expected to continue into Thursday with an expected snowfall amount of 5-10 centimetres for the area.
Residents can expect some blustery weather over the next few days with flurries persisting throughout the region with temperatures hovering in the -5 to -8 range with winds gusting in the 80-km range.