Historic Canadian Snowstorm Leaves Residents Stranded in Homes

Historic Canadian Snowstorm Leaves Residents Stranded in Homes

A historic multiday storm that pummeled parts of Nova Scotia left several residents stranded and isolated on Tuesday, waiting for help digging out.

The almost 1.5 meters (5 feet) of heavy, wet snow that accumulated over the weekend left home entrances and roadways blocked.

Sunday afternoon, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality announced a state of local emergency, which will extend for the rest of the week. The cleanup for the substantial snowfall can take days.

“With this amount of snow and this type of snow — it’s heavy and sticky — it’s challenging, so we’ll take time,” Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston told a news conference on Monday.

The mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Amanda McDougall, has been urging residents to stay off roads and remain at home, noting that while the weather has improved, there is a lot of work to be done to ensure safe conditions. Schools across much of Nova Scotia remained closed on Tuesday.

“At my house, for example, we have a good 5-foot drift that’s sitting at the end of our driveway, so we can’t get out,” she said in an interview with the Canadian Press. “It’s not going to be a quick process to dig out of this.”

Community members are already starting to feel the effects of isolation. Sydney, Nova Scotia, resident Debbie Crane, 61, has been stuck at home since Friday night, and as of Tuesday had missed one kidney dialysis appointment.

An ambulance driver named Bedi Singh was at home Sunday afternoon when he heard a loud bang as snow pushed through a ground-floor window, covering him and his girlfriend. While the couple only suffered mild scratches, it was a startling event.

“A big chunk of snow fell from the roof (of the four-story apartment complex), and it put too much pressure (on the window),” Singh told the Canadian Press. “Boom! Everything broke and came in. All of the glass and snow fell right on top of me and my girlfriend.”

Nova Scotia has contacted neighboring provinces and Ottawa for help managing the snow.

Minister Harjit Sajjan, responsible for federal emergency preparedness, announced that Parks Canada will provide snow-removal equipment and the Canadian Coast Guard will dispatch helicopters.

Additionally, humanitarian efforts will be supported by organizations such as the Red Cross, Sajjan said.

Some information for this article came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.

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