State of emergency declared in St. John’s

State of emergency declared in St. John’s

We begin in St. John’s where the mayor
has just declared a state of emergency. A major blizzard is slamming the region
and as you can see there’s very little visibility on the roads due to all that
blowing snow, the forecast suggests these treacherous conditions won’t be letting
up anytime soon the CBC’s Kayla Hansell is braving the outdoors for us today as
she has been all morning she joins us live from St. John’s, Kayla thanks for
being there for us what is the situation there like right now? Hi John well as you
said the mayor of St. John’s has declared a state of that of emergency,
that state of emergency is in effect immediately and until further notice and
what that means is that all businesses have been ordered to shut down all
vehicles other than emergency vehicles have been ordered off the roads so in
that statement from the city of St. John’s they actually say no vehicles are
permitted to use city streets, plows will continue but otherwise the city of st.
John’s urging people stay home, do not drive until this state of
emergency has been lifted I mean you can see the conditions it is a complete
blizzard whiteout situation has been progressively getting worse throughout
the morning which is as it was forecast to do. The snow is coming down very heavy
very quickly, the wind has been intensifying all morning long I mean
it’s just the kind that’s hitting you in the face
as I’m here trying to speak to you you can probably hear it’s taking my breath away
a little bit so that you know our situation the CBC has also pulled all of
its crews off the road so we’re just here at our hotel just outside of our
hotel to bring you this story in the safest way possible. Again the city is
shut down, schools were closed, city buses were pulled off the roads long before
the state of emergency went into effect government buildings also closed for the
day, of course ferry service has been stopped and flights grounded. Air Canada
sent extra flights in last night to get people out ahead of the storm but if you
didn’t manage to get out it looks like we’re gonna be here for a while
officials really asking for patience urging people to understand that this is
not just this one very bad storm which is
very bad a nasty one even by Newfoundland standards but that there
have been multiple storms one on top of another very recently which means they
haven’t been able to get ahead of the snow clearing so this is gonna take some
time certainly throughout the weekend even after this weather stops which is
supposed to continue into tomorrow at least but really looking at at least
Monday before this province is back up and running John. Thanks for this Kayla
CBC’s Kayla Hansel in St. John’s Newfoundland well for more on how the
city is coping we are joined now by a man who’s very busy and we appreciate
his time today the mayor of St. John’s Danny Breen thanks for joining us sir, as
Kayla was saying you’ve just declared a state of emergency in your city, why did
you do that? well this is a very unique situation
that we have we had a tremendous amount of snow underground we had about 170
centimeters because we had back-to-back storms and and snowfalls we weren’t able
to get the amount of removal and pushback and widening of streets done
that that we normally would have had done in sidewalk clearing, so we have a
situation with 70 centimeters of snow coming it was just going to be it’s
going to have a tremendous cleanup and the top of that the combination of a
heavy snow and a the rate of snow along with very high wind levels add a
level of danger to this that we wanted to make sure that we that we just were
able to to keep the emergency routes open, do as much plowing and clearing of
sidewalks of streets that we could and and be able to to clean up after the
after the storm. You mentioned the element of danger what
is the message that you want your residents to hear loud and clear with
you imposing the state of emergency? We want everybody to stay home, we want
everybody to stay safe we if you have neighbors that you know that may need
some assistance reach out to them if you can just to make sure everything is okay
and we just want to be able to to to weather the storms so to speak. The one
of the things that the wind levels are going to be increasing and with that
there’s always a concern for power outages and those things so the city has
our staff our necessary staff on standby to deal with any of the further actions
that may happen as a result of this storm. Just to not put too fine a point
on it but that person who says you know what I just want to get some milk I just
want to get some eggs I’m just going to the store it’s just around the corner
what would you advise that person to do who might be thinking of taking a
calculated risk under these circumstances? I would advise them to
stay home because those uh the state of emergency order is closing all
businesses in the city so they they’re not going to be able to to go to the
store they’re not going to be able to go out to to do any of those things
additionally if they just decide that they want to go out I would strongly
recommend they stay at home, the winds are going to be high the visibility is
very poor is just better for everyone and safer if people just stay at home
and wait for the storm to subside. Have you had a chance to gauge
how people are feeling about all this, what are you hearing from them and what
are their concerns with this storm? Well it’s really it’s you know it we’re used
to having snow or where we’re not used to having this much snow this early and
where we’re certainly not used to having a combination of seventy centimeters of
snow and very high winds so, people understand they they understand what’s
what the what the challenge is there but still there’s going to be a very very
significant cleanup not only for the city but for private businesses and for
private homeowners into the next few days so this is this is a major storm
and people are very concerned about it. You say the next few days and I
understand that the state of emergency is in effect until further notice,
how long do you think folks are going to have to hunker down? I have no idea right
now it depends when the storm subsides and
on how much snow is on the ground when were when were completed and how we can
get the city open again but we we will have it in place until we’re satisfied
that we can return to normal operations here. So worth emphasizing even though it
may have stopped snowing in a day or two it could be several more days as I
understand what you’re saying before streets are safe for people to go out
again. We are going to take whatever time we need here to to make sure that the
streets are opened and that we’re able to get back to normal operations. Mayor
Breen I understand of course you’re a busy man these days thanks for taking
the time out to talk to us, best of luck with you and your community and we’ll be
staying in touch throughout the weekend. Appreciate it thank you very much, okay
all the best Mayor Danny Breen speaking to us live from St. John’s Newfoundland


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