Iqaluit residents returned to work today after many spent Sunday digging themselves out of the remnants of a 50-hour blizzard. 

By virtually all accounts, the three-day blizzard is by far the longest in recent memory.

Many homes around the community were snowed in, with Iqalummiut forced to dig themselves from inside-out.

"I got a little cabin crazy," said Brandon Alger, who's lived in the city for four years and whose house was snowed in.

"I would keep checking and every time I opened the door and the snow just kept rising until finally I just said 'OK., that's it. I'm snowed in. I'm not going anywhere.'"

Resident Pascale Arpin's experience may have been one common to many Iqalummiut.

In a video, posted to Instagram, she fell into the snowdrift outside her door after attempting to dig her way out with a shovel.

A video posted by @pascaloosie on

Communication breakdown between City, territorial gov't officials

Communication broke down between the City of Iqaluit and the Government of Nunavut the morning after the blizzard hit, with Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern advising people via social media to stay off the roads, while GN officials simultaneously called civil servants into work.

"I was surprised, and that's why I contacted the Minister [of Finance, Keith Peterson] immediately, to let him know the forecast was for the blizzard to continue ... and my crew, who were out on the road in the conditions, had deemed it unsafe for the public to be out," Redfern said.

Iqaluit blizzard

City of Iqaluit crews worked throughout Sunday to clear the roads of snow drifts, sometimes more than 10 feet high. (Nick Murray/CBC)

Other local offices also made the call to close up, including federal government bureaus, Inuit organizations and daycares.

Ultimately, GN officials reversed their decision shortly after 8:15 a.m. – 45 minutes after initially calling people into work – but not before some employees showed up to punch in.

"It did seem a bit curious because we had a blizzard warning," said Maureen Doherty, the director of health and wellness programs at Nunavut's Arctic College, who made the half-kilometre walk to work.

"The first sign should have been when I saw someone fall down their stairs because they hadn't been shoveled. The area around the courthouse, the drifts were so high and the gusts of wind were so strong, that it blew me out into the road. I got back and I had to basically just clutch onto snowbanks and crawl through.

"You couldn't see the oncoming traffic until it was just right in front of you. I was really very lucky I didn't get hit. It was a very dangerous walk. Something that looks very innocuous from your apartment window can be really really dangerous when you get out there."

Redfern says Iqaluit's Chief Administrative Officer has written to the GN to meet about how everything unfolded and Iqaluit city staff will meet amongst themselves and other entities around town to gather everyone's respective blizzard policies.

With files from Kieran Oudshoorn