Reuters/DPA Ottawa, Chicago
The airport and businesses remained closed yesterday in the capital of Newfoundland on the Atlantic Canada coast in the wake of a massive winter blizzard that buried cars in snow drifts and caused an avalanche in one neighbourhood.
The storm dumped as much as 75cm of snow on the city of St John’s and packed wind gusts as high as 130kph.
Mayor Danny Breen said a state of emergency declared on Friday remained in effect.
“All businesses are ordered to remain closed; shops closing regulations are suspended and all vehicles are prohibited from using City streets except emergency vehicles; police, fire and ambulance,” Breen said on Twitter.
Thousands remained without power and social media showed people had begun to literally dig out of their homes after snow drifts blocked their doorways.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC) confirmed a report of an avalanche slamming into a home in the Battery neighbourhood, which sits at the entrance to the St John’s harbour on the slopes of a steep hill. A picture of the home on Twitter showed the living room filled with snow.
The CBC also said a 26-year-old man has been reported missing after having set out to walk to a friend’s house on Friday during the blizzard.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday offered federal help to the city and province if needed.
“Thinking of our friends & neighbours in NL who are dealing with the aftermath of yesterday’s massive blizzard. Stay safe out there and listen to your local authorities. We’re here for you and stand ready to help in any way we can,” Trudeau tweeted yesterday.
Meanwhile, as the winter storm barrelled into the Chicago region, the US Federal Aviation Administration imposed a ground-stop at O’Hare International Airport on Friday evening, halting all takeoffs and landings.
The stop did not immediately affect Midway Airport, said city Department of Aviation spokeswoman Karen Pride.
It was unclear how long the stop may be, or how many flights it immediately affected, but hundreds of flights had already been canceled Friday evening.
Wind-swept snow belted Chicago on Friday afternoon and evening, making roadways a mess and forcing commuters to slosh through the wintry mix as they trekked across the area.
The winter storm hit the Chicago area just in time for the evening commute Friday, with snow beginning about 4pm.
The area could see as much as 15cm of snow before the storm moves out, according to the National Weather Service.
“When it gets here, it’s going to come hard and fast,” said Kevin Donofrio, a meteorologist with the weather service. “The roads will become slush very quickly.”
Airlines at Chicago’s two major airports reported cancellations and delays Friday as a winter weather advisory was in effect.
As of 7pm on Friday, 615 flights had been canceled at O’Hare and 159 at Midway in the last 24 hours, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.
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