Airport, businesses still closed after blizzard hits Canada's Newfoundland

  • World
  • Sunday, 19 Jan 2020

A snowy street is pictured in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada January 17, 2020. Zach Bonnell/via REUTERS

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The airport and businesses remained closed in the capital of Newfoundland in Atlantic Canada on Saturday in the wake of a massive winter blizzard that buried cars in snow drifts and caused an avalanche in one neighbourhood.

The storm dumped as much as 75 cm (29 inches) of snow on the city of St. John's and packed wind gusts as high as 130 km per hour (81 mph). Mayor Danny Breen said a state of emergency declared on Friday remained in effect.

"All businesses are ordered to remain closed; shops closing regulations are suspended and all vehicles are prohibited from using City streets except emergency vehicles; police, fire and ambulance," Breen said on Twitter.

Thousands remained without power and social media showed people had begun to literally dig out of their homes after snow drifts blocked their doorways.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC) confirmed a report of an avalanche slamming into a home in the Battery neighbourhood, which sits at the entrance to the St. John's harbour on the slopes of a steep hill.

A picture of the home on Twitter showed the living room filled with snow. The CBC also said a 26-year-old man has been reported missing after having set out to walk to a friend's house on Friday during the blizzard.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday offered federal help to the city and province if needed.

"Thinking of our friends & neighbours in NL who are dealing with the aftermath of yesterday’s massive blizzard. Stay safe out there and listen to your local authorities. We’re here for you and stand ready to help in any way we can," Trudeau tweeted on Saturday.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Paul Simao)

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