Nfld. & Labrador

Some schools, courts stay closed as winter storm hits Newfoundland

Snow and strong winds led to widespread closures and cancellations across most of Newfoundland on Monday, and many drivers in St. John's said it wasn't fit to be out.

'I've got an all wheel drive and several times I've almost got stuck,' says courier

parts of Newfoundland were hit by a winter storm Monday. Here are some scenes of people shovelling out. 0:54

Snow and strong winds led to widespread closures and cancellations across most of Newfoundland on Monday, with schools, businesses and courts closed throughout the day, and many drivers complaining about road conditions.

Alex Kleminsky with Environment Canada's Gander weather office said that the Avalon Peninsula was the hardest hit, with snow and high winds peaking mid-morning.

With strong southeasterly winds, visibility at times was reduced to near zero in blowing snow.  A total of 15 centimetres were forecast, and Kleminsky said snow drifts added to the danger.

CBC Meteorologist Ryan Snoddon says the St. John's area can expect about 15 cm of snow by early afternoon Monday. (CBC)

Kleminsky said winds would reach 60 km/h, gusting up to 80 km/h across the island, with wind gusts up to 100 km/h along parts of the coast on the Avalon Peninsula.

CBC Meterologist Ryan Snoddon said the snow is expected to taper off by Monday afternoon, with a chance of drizzle, then flurries.

'It's not fit'

Courier Roger Hill says he nearly got stuck driving in St. John's Monday. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Roger Hill, a courier in St. John's, started his day at 6:30 Monday morning. He said the roads were in poor condition, with some roads in the west end of the city not being plowed as he passed over them.

"It's not fit. I've been on roads that haven't been plowed. I've got an all wheel drive and several times I've almost got stuck. If I didn't power through, I wouldn't have gotten through," said Hill.

"I wouldn't even touch the hills downtown here, I'm after seeing more vans stuck — it's not funny. If it wasn't for places still being open, I'd still be in bed."

Even if the roads are snowy, Robert Fillier says "people still need cabs." (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Robert Fillier, a cab driver in St. John's, said road conditions are worse than in years past, and there have likely been more accidents.

"It seems like it takes forever for plows and sanders to come out, it's actually putting people's lives in danger by not coming out when they normally would have," he said.

"This winter, with the budget and the cuts and all this stuff, it wasn't like this before."

Despite the snowy roads, Fillier said the weather doesn't deter him.

"People still need cabs, still got to go to work." 

Closures and cancellations

The weather caused closures across much of the island.

Many schools, as well as Memorial University's St. John's campus and College of the North Atlantic campuses, were shut Monday, with most schools deciding to remain closed.

All libraries and courts across the island, as well as some government offices were also closed Monday. Matters scheduled for court will be called Tuesday at the same time.

Travel has also been hampered by the weather, as blowing snow led to white outs and poor visibility.

The Department of Transportation and Works also advised drivers to stay off the Burgeo Highway due to stormy conditions.

A number of flights have also been cancelled at St. John's International Airport and Marine Atlantic crossings between Port aux Basques and North Sydney have been delayed.