A resident clears snow in St. John’s on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. The state of emergency ordered by the City of St. John’s continues, leaving most businesses closed and vehicles off the roads in the aftermath of the major winter storm that hit the Newfoundland and Labrador capital. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Armed Forces being mobilized to help Eastern Newfoundland dig out

A man is still missing in the blizzard

The federal government is mobilizing the Armed Forces to help Newfoundland and Labrador dig out from the monster blizzard that paralyzed eastern regions of the province with record breaking amounts of snow as forecasts call for more snow tonight.

Premier Dwight Ball asked for Ottawa’s help on Saturday, and the federal government confirmed within hours it was working to deploy all available resources on the ground in St. John’s.

Canadian Armed Forces Operations confirmed that units were being sent from Gagetown to help out in the affected communities, and to join with local reserves in St. John’s.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said at a news conference in Winnipeg that two Cormorant helicopters, at least one Griffin helicopter and two Hercules aircraft have been deployed to Newfoundland.

“What you’ll see is probably by the end of today (Sunday), you’ll have about 150 to 200 personnel on the ground ready to provide support. This could surge up to anywhere between 250 to 300 by tomorrow and the coming days,” he said.

Their expected tasks will include assisting with snow removal, providing residents with transportation to warming or emergency centres, and ensuring the elderly and those with health concerns are cared for.

Some municipalities including St. John’s, Conception Bay South and Mount Pearl eased their states of emergency Sunday to allow people to re-stock on emergency supplies after days of being snowed in.

St. John’s said its state of emergency would remain in place Monday, with exception for private snow clearing contractors, gas stations to help with snow removal and pharmacies for emergency medication needs.

In the meantime, residents pitched in to assist home-bound neighbours who had reached out for help on social media.

Jessica Pynn’s west end St. John’s neighbourhood was buried under snow by Friday evening as she and her fiancé dealt with their 13-month-old daughter’s unexpected fever.

The family ran out of medicine and Pynn took to a neighbourhood Facebook group asking for help once the skies were clear.

“Within one hour, a lady I had never met before was at my front door with a full bottle of medicine and a box of popsicles,” Pynn said by email.

Her daughter’s fever was brought under control by Sunday morning and Pynn said she feels “blessed” to live in a place where neighbours cheerily trek through unplowed streets to help those in need.

“If it wasn’t for these kind people, I don’t know what I would do,” Pynn said. “There would be absolutely no way we would be able to leave here by vehicle and she probably would have (gotten) a lot more sick.”

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

Meanwhile, a search resumed Sunday morning for a man who went missing during the weekend storm, with the RCMP asking people in the area of Roaches’ Line to check sheds, vehicles and other structures on their properties in case 26-year-old Joshua Wall has taken shelter there.

The RCMP in Bay Roberts said Wall disappeared after leaving his home in Roaches Line, about 70 kilometres west of the capital of St. John’s, on Friday to walk through a wooded area to a friend’s home in nearby Marysvale.

On Sunday morning, an RCMP spokeswoman said the search area has expanded as police now believe Wall may have made it out of the wooded area and back on to the Roaches’ Line roadway, following a reported sighting of a man last night.

Glenda Power said Saturday’s search in the area with heavy snow drifts required snowmobiles and an Argo all-terrain vehicle.

Newfoundland Power crews continued working overnight to reconnect about 3,500 customers blacked out during the height of the storm, and St. John’s International Airport issued a release Saturday that there would be no flights before Sunday evening at the earliest.

And there was one more bit of unwelcome news, as Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for the St. John’s area, saying at least 15 centimetres of snow was expected to fall between Sunday night and Monday morning.

— With files from Michael Tutton and Joan Bryden.

Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

First fall storm expected to hit Greater Victoria tonight

Heavy rainfall, winds expected over the next several days

Oak Bay chief puts an end to dad jokes on police Twitter

No more jokes on Oak Bay Police Twitter account

HMCS Victoria popping up as training sessions underway

MARPAC says plume of smoke normal for recharging submarine

Sidney part of a region that suffers ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

Consultants find that Sidney needs 233 new spaces to meet the current demand for daycare

B.C. ELECTION: MLA Adam Olsen says NDP is sacrificing health for politics

Olsen acknowledges situation of a snap election is not ideal for BC Greens,

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Cowichan Valley family overwhelmed with 14 Lab puppies

Litter may be one of the biggest ever

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Islands Trust Conservancy gets funding for protection of at-risk species

Conservancy manages habitat for more than 25 plant and animal species at risk

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

First full day of B.C.’s election campaign begins amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and the Green party’s Sonia Furstenau criticized John Horgan’s decision

RCMP issue two $2,300 COVID fines at same Metro Vancouver vacation rental within 24 hours

Cpl. Mike Kalanj said it was ‘quite frankly appalling’ to see parties breaking COVID-19 rules

Most Read