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

Kootenay-Columbia MP urges end to ‘illegal roadblocks’ in solidarity with pipeline dispute

Rob Morrison says protestors across Canada need to remove roadblocks on roads, rail lines

New ‘hub’ model takes regional approach to doctor recruitment in West Kootenay

Kootenay-Boundary a provincial leader in effectively attracting doctors to work here

The Musical Life of Marlene Nash

Pictured above: Marlene Nash re-enacts one of her winning numbers from the… Continue reading

Town of Creston gets grant to ‘undevelop’ reservoir site

By Lorne Eckersley A last minute grant application earlier in the winter… Continue reading

Organic waste pick-up expected by 2022 in RDCK

But there are many unanswered questions in Nelson about cost and details

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

Most Read