#NLBlizzrd; #4thDayofEmergencyState; #ClosureOfMostSchools&Businesses
St. John's (Newfoundland), Jan 20 (Canadian-Media): Overnight blizzard conditions, unprecedented weather and with snowfall topping to 100 centimeters forced St. John's to enter its fourth day of the state of emergency, media reports said.
Blizzard in Newfoundland & Labrador. Image credit: Facebook
Troops arrived in St. John's Sunday, before the latest storm set in. Up to 300 troops from across Canada are being mobilized in a federal response that was authorized Saturday.
Some of the top priorities for the troops from CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick and across canada are to clear roads, attend to elderly and sick residents and ensure that people who need medical care get to hospitals and clinics.
With most of the schools and business remaining closed, gas stations are allowed to open in St. John's for emergency fuel only.
Some pharmacies can open and fill prescriptions for a limited period of time, Health Minister John Haggie said after a discussion with the mayor.
St. John's Mayor Danny Breen asked the public for patience if their street remains snowed in.
"You're not being forgotten," Breen said. "The first goal is to get all the roads to have one cut in them."
Breen said usually snow is blown up onto lawns in residential areas. "But there's no room on the lawns, so it's going to have to be removed," he said, a slower operation requiring dump trucks and loaders.
On Monday morning, Breen said police will start enforcing the rules of the state of emergency — up to a $5,000 fine for people and stores who disobey it — if needed.
"We're focused on getting the streets open and getting the residents back to their normal routines, ... not in penalizing people. That said, we can't let it get out of control because we really need the streets to be open and available to the snow-clearing equipment and our operators."
Snow clearing aid from the Canadian Armed Forces is set to begin Monday.
Rear Admiral Craig Baines, commander of Joint Task Force Atlantic, said 200 troops arrived Sunday night, with more on the way.
They're armed with shovels and snowblowers to dig out people still stuck inside their homes, but the city says help is limited to vulnerable populations.