The city of St. John and neighboring counties, including Mount Pearl, Paradise and Conception Bay South, on the Avalon Peninsula, declared a state of emergency on Friday, when a massive storm system passed through eastern Newfoundland and Labrador. .
An unprecedented snowfall that is going through the region makes the São João subway squat during the day, projecting 75 centimeters of snow and supporting itself in severe climatic conditions, with winds reaching 150 km / h. Massive power outages swept the metropolitan area, Conception Bay North, the Burin Peninsula and Gander.
The CBC station in St. John & # 39; s has lost its reserve power, but this has been restored.
At 3:30 pm On Friday, Minister for Municipal Affairs and the Environment Derrick Bragg said on Friday that people across the eastern part of the island, especially in areas near St. John's, should stay inside. From home.
Other communities across the Avalon Peninsula on the east coast of the island issued their own states of emergency on Friday afternoon, which include Cove Norman’s Cove-Long Cove, Come By Chance, Torbay, Chapel Arm, Random Island West and Portugal Cove-St. Philip.
Bragg told CBC News that 25 of the 26 snow clearing deposits have been closed in eastern Newfoundland.
"Without snow on the main highways, fire trucks and ambulances and all first responders could not, at the moment, reach you in most cases," said Bragg.
"Please do not do anything that puts the lives of rescuers at risk by putting these people in such conditions. If the snowplows are off the road, you can be sure that it is not safe to leave."
At 9 pm the province's transport and works department said it was still too dangerous for plows to operate. Much equipment to the west of Badger, about 450 kilometers west of St. John & # 39; s, has been removed from the roads due to unsafe conditions.
Plow operators responded to 105 requests for assistance so far on Friday, 24 from ambulances, 21 from the police and 60 from the public, according to the department.
The department expects snow clearing to begin on Saturday morning, adding that approximately 65 inches of snow has fallen in the St. John area so far.
According to Bragg, the heating centers were organized by the municipalities, but it is important to locate the nearest one before you lose energy.
Bragg said there is a plan in which most municipalities have a loader or snow-cleaning equipment parked in front of their fire rooms.
Premier Dwight Ball spoke to CBC News on Friday night. He reminded the public to reach 511, the province's travel information service, in case of an emergency, by phone or visiting 511nl.ca.
The service offers current updates on the state of the road for the entire province and, in an emergency, the assistance of a snowplow operator to help with other emergency services, such as ambulances.
How St. John & # 39; s and other counties are being affected
Judy O & # 39; Keefe, vice president of clinical services at Eastern Health, said the health authority is advising staff not to show up for work on Friday night or Saturday morning under the current state of emergency of the Metropolitan region.
Employees currently at work are advised that they cannot leave due to security concerns.
St. John Mayor Danny Breen declared a state of emergency at 11 am, directing all companies to close. All vehicles, except emergency personnel, were instructed to leave the roads.
"Anyone who leaves now, you need to go back to your home and stay there until we raise the state of emergency," Breen told CBC News.
At 6 pm, St. John & # 39; s temporarily suspended all snow clearing operations. However, snowplow operators remain on hold at various locations in the city, including hospitals, firefighters and the Battery neighborhood, according to the city.
As of 8 pm, part of the Battery neighborhood was being evacuated due to an avalanche warning.
Breen said 311 is still available and city officials are ready for emergency calls.
At 4:30 pm, the mayor of Bonavista John Norman declared a state of emergency for the city some 300 kilometers northwest of St. John & # 39; s.
Norman said that all city officials were removed from the roads and advised residents to call 911 in emergencies.
In the event of a medical emergency, Norman said a city plow will be available as an escort to the hospital.
Government plows removed from roads
The city of Paradise has also removed its snow-clearing equipment from its streets.
More than 75 centimeters of snow are expected to fall on the Avalon Peninsula on Friday night, while winds are expected to reach up to 150 km / h in coastal areas.
The storm is so strong that the Newfoundland and Labrador government has removed its plows from regional roads.
Transport Minister Steve Crocker said the main issue was visibility, with windshields offering views of little more than a solid white plane.
"It is no longer safe. You can imagine the size of the equipment that our operators are operating and they are out there and do not know where a road ends or where it starts in many cases."
Premier Ball said the province is bringing snow clearing equipment from the west coast of the island to help clean up on the east coast.
"A lot of the work is going on today, in preparation for when the storm is finally over, that we have support to support areas that need extra equipment and human resources to reach cleanup," he said.
Tracking the blizzard
CBC meteorologists Ryan Snoddon and Ashley Brauweiler continue to track the blizzard, with updates that will see the strongest winds yet to come.
According to Snoddon, the Avalon Peninsula will experience the strongest winds at 6pm. Friday, but will decrease slightly during the night and until Saturday morning. Snoddon said Saturday afternoon would be a good window for anyone trying to dig, with winds that are expected to hover around 80 km / h.
The Bonavista Peninsula will continue to deal with strong winds overnight.
The Avalon Peninsula is expected to see a mixture of rain and snow on Sunday and overnight, with rain or drizzle expected on Monday.
A spokesman for the provincial RCMP had harsh words for anyone thinking about driving in an emergency.
"It's no joke, this is not cool." We are really saying, "Stay off the road", said Const. Jolene Garlene.
For everyone in NL affected by the storm, listen to your local authorities. We want you to be safe and keep roads clean for emergency vehicles & amp; snow clearing. @BillBlair is in contact with the province & amp; is monitoring the situation. We are ready to help if necessary.
She explained that police officers have already been called in to help drivers who have left the road and are under arrest, but said that the island's police have limited capacity and capacity to help in current conditions without taking any chances.
Conditions steadily deteriorated during the morning, with visibility getting worse as the winds increased. Mayor Breen indicated that the potential for power outages was a decisive factor in ordering the state of emergency.
"When you have strong winds like this and snow, there are so many problems at stake that you really need to turn it off – clean up," said Breen, adding that he doesn't remember the city from the front. such a severe storm in decades.
The last time St. John's declared a state of emergency was an ice storm that hit the region in 1984, he said.
Breen said he is not sure at the moment when the order will be lifted, as it depends a lot on the cleanup the city has already faced after consecutive storms.
Up to 10 cm drop per hour
The School District of Terra Nova and Labrador English closed a number of schools in the eastern and central regions, while Memorial University, the Maritime Institute and the Colégio do Atlântico Norte were also closed for one day.
John Fisher, of Fisher & # 39; s Loft in Port Rexton, New York, said his anemometer hit 160 km / h on Friday afternoon, the highest that Fisher said he had ever seen.
Ball said the provincial government is working closely with the federal government.
"The prime minister, I know, arrived today – as well as the local MP and the local minister here," he said.
"So everyone is involved in this – working with the communities. After the storm is over, they will support the cleanup and it will take some time. So we are asking people to be patient."
Transit, canceled flights
Metrobus canceled its public transport service before the snow fell, following with a statement that it will also be down on Saturday.
Most flights are canceled at St. John's International Airport.
The state of the emergency order affects taxis. Jiffy Cabs, one of St. John & # 39; s best-known companies, said it is the first time in the history of the business that it has pulled its entire fleet off the road.
The Marine Atlantic ferry service canceled its morning crossings between North Sydney, N.S. and Port aux Basques, N.L.
Winds picked up early Friday morning and snow started to fall around 4:30 pm.