Saturday April 20, 2024

‘Historic’ snowfall buries Canada’s Atlantic coast

February 07, 2024

MONTREAL: Residents along Canada´s Atlantic coast on Tuesday were digging out from a “historic” snowfall that paralyzed parts of the province of Nova Scotia over the weekend, triggering a state of emergency.

A street in Montreal during heavy snow. — AFP/File
A street in Montreal during heavy snow. — AFP/File

More than a meter (three feet) of snow combined with powerful gusts of wind, halting transportation networks and forcing many businesses, government offices and schools to shutter.

“It is very likely that areas around southeastern Cape Breton exceeded 100 centimeters” (39 inches) of precipitation, Environment Canada meteorologist Bob Robichaud told AFP, describing the storm as “historic” in scale.

“If we look at the entire event, from Friday until this morning, these are record quantities,” he said.

Sunday afternoon, authorities on the province´s Cape Breton island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence declared a state of emergency, urging citizens to only travel out of “absolute necessity.”

“With this amount of snow and this type of snow -- it´s heavy and sticky -- it´s challenging, so we´ll take time” to deal with it, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston told a news conference on Monday.

He said he asked Ottawa to send in the military and other resources to help.

Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan said he approved emergency aid and the deployment of Parks Canada heavy snow removal equipment and Coast Guard helicopters to move supplies.

“Nova Scotians -- and in particular, Cape Bretoners -- find themselves amidst an unprecedented snowstorm,” he posted on X.On social media, residents shared images of the storm´s aftermath, some showing snow accumulations as high as the top of doors or the roofs of houses.