Valentine's Day blizzard shuts down services, transportation

Schools closed, streets deserted, Metrobus suspends service; MUN, Marine Institute among closures

Published on February 14, 2017

A snow plow makes its way up Main Street in Bauline Tuesday afternoon.

©Louis Power/The Telegram

Snow drifts like this one in Bauline built up over large portions of the island Tuesday as high winds met with significant snowfall.

©Louis Power/The Telegram

Downtown is pretty quiet this morning in St. John's as the blizzard hits.

©James McLeod/The Telegram

This street light at the bottom of the courthouse steps on Water Street, St. John's, fell victim to the high winds.

©Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Walmart, Kelsey Drive, St. John's

©The Telegram

Cork Street, St. John's during this morning's blizzard.

©The Telegram

The snow-covered parking lot at Health Sciences Centre.

©Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Heavy snow swept its way across much of Newfoundland Tuesday, shutting down schools, courts, most businesses and government offices while many enjoyed a snow day at home.

More is expected Wednesday.

The east and south coasts of the island were hammered not only by snow, but by 100/km wind gusts, making for some extremely hazardous driving conditions. Metrobus, Go Bus and the Bell Island ferry were halted for the day, and not a single flight made it to St. John’s International Airport after 7 a.m. Arrivals and departures into Wednesday afternoon and evening are cancelled.

Marine Atlantic’s 11:45 a.m. crossings between Sydney, N.S., and Port aux Basques were delayed until 11:45 p.m., weather permitting.

In the afternoon, Parks Canada issued an alert about the blowing snow and whiteouts around Terra Nova National Park, advising anyone on the highway to travel with extreme caution.

Emergency responders urged drivers to stay at home. The RCMP in Holyrood offered this message on Twitter in hopes people stay safe: "Absolutely need emergency meds tomorrow from local pharmacy? Stay home. We will get them for you if we can. We care!"

Eastern Health’s community-based health centres and administrative offices closed, but its acute-care hospital sites and long-term care facilities were open. Emergency services were available at all sites. Eastern Health said patients whose appointments were cancelled would be contacted individually to re-book.

For emergency updates pertaining to Eastern Health’s facilities, visit the Storm Watch section at Eastern Health’s website at www.easternhealth.ca.

Both Mount Pearl and St. John's announced garbage and recycling collection will be delayed by a day this week.

By the time it’s all over Wednesday afternoon, the northern Avalon peninsula, Clarenville and vicinity and the Bonavista Peninsula will have between 30-60 cm of snow, Environment Canada says. Lesser, but still significant, amounts will fall elsewhere, combined with high winds.

Conditions were expected to improve on the Burin Peninsula Tuesday evening, and Wednesday morning on the southern Avalon Peninsula. For the northern Avalon Peninsula, blizzard conditions were expected to persist overnight, tapering off at some point Wednesday.

For up-to-date weather information, visit weather.gc.ca.

 

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A snowplow makes a cut through a subdivision in Paradise Tuesday morning.

©Rosie Mullaley/The Telegram

Waterford Bridge Road, St. John's.

©James McLeod/The Telegram

Richard Nolan Drive, Mount Pearl

©Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

Old Placentia Road, Mount Pearl

©Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

A motorist makes their way over Old Petty Harbour Road in Kilbride during this morning's blizzard.

©Joe Gibbons/The Telegram