Thunder Bay digs out as wild winter storm blows through

City of Thunder Bay road clearing crews have made two passes down some of the major arteries since the snow starting falling early Friday morning.
The snowbanks in Thunder Bay's north end grew even higher with the latest dump of snow. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

City of Thunder Bay road clearing crews have made two passes down some of the major arteries since the snow starting falling early Friday morning.

Environment Canada said some locations in the area could receive 35 cm of snow by the time the system blows through. The extra accumulation makes for slow going for both drivers and pedestrians.

A car is covered in snow along Thunder Bay's Algoma Street. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

Thunder Bay's roads division manager said it will take well into next week to finish the sidewalks "due to the volume of snow and the existing snowbanks on the sidewalks."

"We're using the snowblower attachments on the sidewalk plows — and it's slow going with that," Brad Adams said.

"So it's going to take us four or five, maybe six days, to get everything open, if everything goes well".

Adams said about 50 pieces of snow-clearing equipment have been deployed around the city. He said he expects all residential streets will be plowed by Sunday.

Garbage collection delays

The city reported garbage collection was progressing with some delays. In a press release Friday afternoon, the city said crews were having difficulties with access to residential streets, but were attempting to collect as much as they could.

Even the plow trucks are getting stuck in Thunder Bay's heavy snow. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

Residents who do not receive garbage collection will be able to place six items at the curb on their next collection day. Recycling collection was cancelled for the day and the city said items should be brought back in to be placed out on their next scheduled recycling collection day.

Road and air travel affected

The winter storm that blew into the region forced numerous cancellations across the city and beyond.

At the Thunder Bay International Airport, a number of flight cancellations and delays were logged early in the morning, but the airport website showed relatively minor delays in arrivals and departures later in the day.

The OPP warned of dangerous conditions on highways with several closures, some related to collisions. Highway 17 was closed just east of Ignace late Friday morning after a five-vehicle collision involving two tractor-trailer units, a snow plow and two passengers vehicles. No injuries were reported.

Several centimetres of snow were expected to fall on Thunder Bay throughout Friday. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

Thunder Bay Transit buses managed to continue running, even though there were some delays.

Environment Canada said the Thunder Bay area received 18-22 cm of snow overnight and through the morning.

Earlier, CBC Meteorologist Jay Scotland had received unofficial figures from the airport showing only 9 cm.

But Environment Canada Meteorologist Geoff Coulson reported some locations might get up to 35 cm before the system moves on. Coulson said residents can expect high snow drifts because of the accompanying wind.

Long-time Thunder Bay-area weather observer and writer Graham Saunders said he had recorded about 28 cm of snow this morning at his rural property.

"I've been thinking this winter is something like 1996," Graham told CBC News. That year marked the most snow ever recorded in Thunder Bay with about 350 cm over the season.

Latest updates:

  • Hwy 17 reopened near Ignace.
  • Hwy 11 reopened from Nipigon to Hearst
  • Nor'west Community Health Centre closed at 1 p.m. and no urgent care this afternoon.
  • Anishnawbe Mushkiki Clinic on Royston Court closed.
  • District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board closed
  • City of Thunder Bay operated Child Care Centres have been closed, including Grace Remus Child Care Centre, Ogden Child Care Centre, Woodcrest Child Care Centre and Algoma Child Care Centre.
  • Canada Games Complex, Volunteer and Churchill Pools were closed at 11 a.m.
  • The Baggage Building Arts Centre & Skating Rink at Prince Arthur’s Landing has been closed.
  • Terry Fox Visitor Information Centre has been closed.
  • Skating programs at all city arenas have been cancelled.
  • Lakehead University Thunderwolves hockey playoff with York University this evening is postponed to tomorrow. Game 3, if necessary, will be played Sunday.
  • Churchill high school Cabaret 2014, scheduled for this evening, has been postponed.
  • Classes at Lakehead University (now including the Medical School) and Confederation College are cancelled today, but the buildings are still open.
  • Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic closed.
  • Footsteps Family Centres are closed.
  • Chidren's Centre closed today as well as Kinderplace child centre closed.
  • All Thunder Bay schools closed: Lakehead Public, Thunder Bay Catholic, Thunder Bay Christian, as well as CSDC schools and Education Centres
  • No school buses for Kenora/Sioux Narrows, Dryden/Vermillion, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake/Ear Falls, Ignace, Upsala. Schools are open.
  • Kingfisher Lake Outdoor Education Centre Open House tomorrow cancelled.

Weather warnings:

  • Thunder Bay - Superior West — winter storm warning in effect.
  • Dryden, Ignace, Sioux Lookout, Savant Lake — snowfall warning in effect.
  • Fort Frances, Rainy Lake — snowfall warning in effect.
  • Atikokan, Upsala, Quetico — snowfall warning in effect.
  • Lake Nipigon, Wabakimi — winter storm warning in effect.
  • Geraldton, Manitouwadge, Hornepayne — winter storm warning in effect.
  • Nipigon, Marathon, Superior North — winter storm warning in effect.
  • White River, Dubreuilville — winter storm warning in effect, snow squall watch in effect.


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