Snow little time: N.L. residents dig out from snow after compounding snowfall

Mount Pearl mayor says this is the most snow since Snowmageddon

Snow-weary St. John's residents are digging out from snowfall after snowfall, and as the fluffy white flakes continue to fall from the sky, some say it feels like there's snow end in sight.

"I feel it in my muscles," said Mount Pearl resident Cyril Tobin, leaning on the handle of his shovel in front of a large pile of snow. "Tired and sore."

Over the past five days, depending on the region, around 60 to 90 centimetres of snow has fallen in the St. John's metro area, according to Environment Canada.

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A winter storm battered much of the island last Wednesday through to Friday morning, and on Sunday, another dump of snow fell on much of the Avalon Peninsula.

The flakes continue to fall Monday afternoon, according to Environment Canada, with snow expected to taper off in the early evening.

Lynnann Winsor, the City of St. John's deputy manager of public works, says snow-clearing crews have been working around the clock to clear the roads.

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She says about five more centimetres of snow is expected to accumulate in the city Monday. Before crews have had the chance to clear out after one winter weather event, she said, the city is already being hit with another.

Mount Pearl, N.L., snow/Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada

Mount Pearl Mayor Dave Aker says around 70 centimetres of snow has fallen in the city over the last five days. (Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada)

"We are resourced for an average winter," Winsor told reporters Monday afternoon. "We're currently in a very active weather pattern that is very much above average, we'll say."

As of Monday afternoon, Winsor said, almost all city streets had been cleared at least once, except for some roads that are more prone to drifting snow. She says the city has also hired contractors to help clear the snow.

The city is asking anybody who has the ability to park in their driveway or anywhere off the street should do so, as it will help the city clear roads more efficiently.

When it comes to high snowbanks, Winsor said, once the city is cleaned up, crews will move onto road widening, removal and blowback operations to reduce the size of snowbanks and increase road visibility.

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Most snow since Snowmageddon

In its 2024 budget, the city budgeting $25.5 million for snow clearing, a 25.4 per cent increase from the previous year.

Winsor said Monday a lot of the increase is going toward upgrading aging equipment more often to prevent inefficiencies.

"That's something we're looking at seeing some improvement in, in the next couple of years, because it is a long delivery time on equipment right now," she said.

She said the city has more funding for sidewalk snow removal and contractors to help clearing operations.

However, she said, a lot of sidewalk snow-clearing equipment is too small for the current amount of snow, so the city has had to rely on larger pieces of equipment, which is slowing down operations.

Every time it snows, said Winsor, the city needs to focus on priority areas, so lower-priority sidewalks, for instance, sit uncleared longer than the city would like them to.

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Any snow that is trucked away is taken to the Robin Hood Bay dump site, she said.

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Mount Pearl Mayor Dave Aker said Monday afternoon that around 70 centimetres of snow has fallen in the city over the last five days — the most Mount Pearl has seen since Snowmageddon, the 2020 blizzard that led to a weeklong state of emergency in the St. John's area.

Aker said residents can expect the city to be cleaned up within a week, but it depends on the forecast.

"This is not typical of most winters, but it's a challenge that we've planned for in advance," he said.

Thumbnail courtesy of Travis Reid, taken in Mount Pearl, N.L.

The story was originally written by and published for CBC News. It contains files from Ife Alaba and Peter Cowan.