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Cleanup begins across the Avalon as winter weather system starts move out of Newfoundland

A snow plow clears the parking lot of a shopping mall.
Snow plow crews are continuing to clean up roads across the Avalon Peninsula. St. The St. John’s area has received over 50 centimetres of snow since Friday. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Winter storm warnings ended across Newfoundland Sunday morning after a mess of weather dumped over 50 centimetres of snow across parts of the St. John’s metro region.

Snow is expected to taper off Sunday morning after being on and off since Friday. A weather station in St. John’s east reported 52 centimetres on the ground as of 6:30 a.m., while the weather station at St. John’s International Airport reported 49 centimetres of snow.

The snow output more than doubled the total amount of snowfall seen all winter on the Avalon Peninsula — which had only reported 40 centimetres of snow this season.

The 49 centimetres reported at the airport is also is the most recorded snow over a two-day period in St. John’s since the infamous 2020 blizzard dubbed ‘Snowmageddon’, which dropped 78.2 cm over Jan. 17 and 18 of that year, according to The Weather Network.

Winds are expected to remain a factor into Sunday, with predicted northwesterly gusts of between 40 and 70 km/h. The winds could bring blowing snow over exposed areas.

“Those will stick around for a decent part of the day, but as we get into the afternoon hours they should start to diminish,” Environment Canada meteorologist Brenden Sawchuk told CBC Radio Sunday.

Several power outages are being reported across the island Sunday morning due to severe weather conditions. About 650 Newfoundland Power customers are affected as of 11:30 a.m. NT, with over 11,000 people losing power around 1 a.m.

Transportation delays are continuing to be seen with areas across the region reporting slick road conditions. Many of the flights departing St. John’s have been cancelled Sunday morning, while flights scheduled to leave in the afternoon are either currently on time or delayed.

Cleaning in stride

With conditions set to improve, most people are putting away their storm chips to tackle shovelling Sunday.

Many shovellers, like Gabriella Ijaware, chose to head out multiple times over the course of Saturday to stay on top of things.

Ijaware says the warmer weather and lack of snow has been nice, but knew it was only a matter of time before the shovel needed to be pulled out.

“It’s been a pretty good winter, so I was kind of expecting it to some level,” she said.

Sawchuk said the snow that fell over the course of Saturday had high levels of water content as temperatures stayed at or near freezing, which could make for a challenging cleanup for some shovellers.

A woman wearing a beige coat and grey scarf stands in her snowy driveway.
Gabriella Ijaware was out shovelling early on Saturday, working to tackle her driveway in waves to help the task from getting too large. (Katie Breen/CBC)

“Hopefully [people] took a bit of a dent into it yesterday before that second band came in,” he said. “If you didn’t it’s going to be pretty heavy. It was a very heavy snow with it hovering around freezing.”

St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen says that’s on the mind of the city as they continue their cleanup efforts. The city announced is reopening its recreation facilities Sunday.

“It’s gonna take some time to clean this up,” Breen said.

“Our crews are out working and have been out working … since the snow started. And we’ll just continue going.”

The St. John’s area is expected to see snow end by about noon on Sunday, then cloudy periods with a 40 per cent chance of flurries. That’s expected to clear Sunday evening, but not before another two centimetres or so could fall.

If snow isn’t your thing, however, Sawchuk says a small warm-up is expected later this week as a band of rain moves up the southern Avalon. Areas of the metro region could see between 10 and 20 millimetres of rain by Tuesday, but Sawchuk says it likely won’t melt all of the snow that fell this weekend.

CBC N.L. Meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler says parts of the Connaigre Peninsula could see as much as 40 millimetres of rain as part of the system. She says it will be important to make sure people check their storm drains as part of the snow cleanup ahead of the system moving in.

Breen also recommends clearing the area around fire hydrants in the event of an emergency.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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