Armed Forces being mobilized to help Eastern Newfoundland dig out

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The federal government is working on 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 Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan said the federal government was working to deploy all available resources on the ground in St. John’s. No details were immediately announced, however, O’Regan said that ensuring access to the city’s main hospital would be a top priority.

Canadian Armed Forces Operations said they hoped to arrive as early as today to help out in the affected communities.

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.

“We stand with Canadians in their time of need. Your community is also our community,” said the Canadian Armed Forces Operations on Twitter.

Meanwhile, a search was also to resume Sunday morning for a man who went missing during the weekend storm. The RCMP in Bay Roberts said 26-year-old Joshua Wall disappeared after leaving his home in Roaches Line, about 70 kilometres west of the capital of St. John’s, to walk through a wooded area to a friend’s home in nearby Marysvale.

As the plowing, shovelling and snow blowing goes on, states of emergency that were declared Friday in St. John’s and several nearby communities remain in effect.

St. John’s said Sunday morning however that it had lifted some restrictions on the state of emergency. Private snow contractors are now allowed to help clear snow, gas stations are permitted to open to provide fuel for snow clearing, and pharmacies are permitted to open from noon until 7 p.m. Sunday for emergency medication needs.

The city reminded residents to stay off the roads as they are not cleared adequately for city movement and traffic.

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.

(Canadian Press)

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