Nfld. & Labrador

Record-busting spring snowstorm leaves giant cleanup in Newfoundland

Some schools in the eastern and central region are closed for the morning, as crews get to work cleaning up after a spring snowfall that saw more than 50 centimetres of snow fall in some areas.
Crews plow the Outer Ring Road in the St. John's area Thursday morning, clearing snow that fell overnight. (Cecil Haire/CBC)

Some schools in eastern and central Newfoundland are closed for the morning, as crews get to work cleaning up after a record-smashing spring snowfall that brought more than 50 centimetres of snow to some areas.

Wednesday's storm dumped 49 cm of snow at St. John's International Airport, easily busting the 61-year-old record for snowfall on April 20. In 1955, a comparatively minor 14.5 cm fell. 

Even more snow was reported in other areas, said Todd Bates, a meteorologist at Environment Canada's Gander weather office, who said about 53 cm fell on the Bonavista Peninsula. 

The storm, which brought daily life to a standstill Wednesday while closing schools, offices and many businesses, even forced the Department of Transportation and Works to pull its snowclearing equipment from some highways due to poor visibility.

While visibility was improved Thursday morning, there remained a lot of snow to move out of the way.

The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District reported multiple delays or closures for the morning, citing road and weather conditions.

Given the high winds, Bates said there are also high snow drifts to be seen across central and eastern Newfoundland.

He added there was more snow in St. John's than expected, after the storm system came in from the southeast — an "unusual direction" with not as many observation posts.

"It came in more intense than expected and all the heavy snow we were expecting to just hold until the Gander area got transported right over top of metro," said Bates.

"The snow came in hard and heavy."

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary was advising motorists to use caution in the metro St. John's area, as roads remained snow-covered and icy.

There are no weather warnings in effect Thursday for Newfoundland and Labrador.