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Snow Storms in Canada

While spring is slowly coming in large parts of Europe, people in northern Manitoba are preparing for a few more winter months and are on their way to removing the traces of the last big snowstorm. The emigrant Claudia Grill has witnessed this Blizzard on site.

When Environment Canada issued a Blizzard warning in early March, most people in Churchill, Manitoba, didn’t think much of it. It is already the fifth such official announcement since December, completely normal in the city of polar bears. Hardly anyone expects that the predicted storm will grow into an event of the century. Just a few weeks ago, after a similar warning, people were joking about where wind and snow would stay. Now the city is buried under masses of snow as it has not been seen for over fifty years.

In Churchill – best known as “Polar Bear Capital of the World” – one is used to long, hard winters. Every year, the temperatures here are below minus 45 degrees, freezing water pipes, cars that don’t want to start and weather capers. A warning of a blizzard – i.e. wind speeds of more than 40km/h and less than 400 meters visibility for more than six hours – does not get anyone excited in Churchill. This time, however, it gradually becomes clear that this storm is no ordinary one. Within a day it can expand up to 130km/h and bring the city to a standstill. In addition to the school and all other public facilities, the supermarket also closes. The train, which arrives from Winnipeg in the morning and will return in the evening, stays at the station (and is still there today); air traffic is suspended anyway. The city administration advises all residents not to leave their houses and apartments. Only the emergency department of the local hospital is in operation.

After a few hours, snow drifts have formed, making it impossible to pass most roads and paths. In order to make it through the snow masses, people generally use snow blowers like on this website to create paths. The snowstorm lasts over 56 hours; after that some people are trapped in their houses and the snow mountains higher than many buildings. In some households, food is becoming scarce and some heating systems are giving up. Some courageous women and men set off to provide their neighbors with food. In a blizzard you quickly lose your orientation, so ropes are stretched between houses, so you can find your way around a bit better.

Despite everything, the inhabitants of Churchill were lucky in misfortune: the power supply remained intact and no one was seriously injured. Many can still remember the last big blizzard in 1999. At that time the power grid collapsed and the inhabitants had to go to the Town Complex, which can be operated with generators.

After more than three days, life returns to Churchill. A total of around eighty centimeters of snow fell – not much, one might say. But the strong wind has piled up the snow and pressed it together, the meter-high snow drifts are as hard as concrete. These days there is a great sense of community and whoever can help: House entrances are shoveled open, vehicles dug out, roads cleared, damage inspected. The city’s employees are on duty around the clock with excavators and trucks. A local state of emergency was declared, all available resources were mobilized The supermarket is open again, but due to the lack of supplies, there is no milk, no bread and no fresh vegetables left in the whole city. Even about a week after the spectacle, not all roads are still passable, not all pipes have been repaired, not all buildings have been completely cleared of snow.

Nevertheless, there is a good mood in the city for the most part: Those who can live in the “World Capital of Polar Bears” will not have a problem with a blizzard of the century.


Tips on Snow clearing and Spreading

“Winter’s here at last!” the children cheer. “When will the snow finally disappear again”, the big ones snort, because nobody really likes the icy temperatures, the blocked roads, and the constant snow shoveling. But what are the duties of a tenant and owner to clear and spread? Do you really have to clear snow all the time or is it enough once a day? Which aids can be used to make snow clearing particularly easy and how can one perhaps gain something positive from the snow after all? I have put together some tips and information about snow clearing and spreading.

1. clearing and gritting obligation

Actually, municipalities and cities are responsible for the safety of pavements. As a rule, however, municipalities transfer the clearing and gritting obligations to the property owner. If you have only rented your house or apartment, it is possible that the house owner will pass these obligations on to the tenants by means of house rules or rental agreement, so that you will have to bite the bullet and shovel. As a rule, the area must be cleared between 7 am and 8 pm. On weekends the times are sometimes a little more moderate. The cleared path must usually be about 1.50m wide.

2. aids for snow clearing and spreading

We are lucky that we only have a comparatively short part of the sidewalk to clear our house, but this also wants to be cleared of snow and protected from slippery roads. We currently use an ordinary snow shovel for wet snow and a broom for loose powder snow. This works well, but only as long as the snow is not too hard. For homeowners with a large plot of land, a snow blower may also be worthwhile. The small noisemakers, which are already available for less than $200, are offered in many DIY stores. If you don’t have the courage or time to go to a DIY store with all the snow outside, you can also order the winter articles you need from an online DIY store. The Baywa DIY superstore and garden center, which is mainly located in the middle and south of Germany, also offers its extensive range of garden and DIY articles online. He is also well positioned in the field of winter articles. The range extends from snow pushers and snow blowers to winter gritting agents and other accessories.

Apropos spreading: By the way, spreading should be done exclusively with sustainable spreading materials such as chippings, sand or sawdust. Salt is forbidden in most communities, quite rightly so, because it damages the soil and the animals living in it immensely.

3. order a snow clearing service

Anyone who works all day is ill-healthy or has no desire to constantly spread and clear snow should consider commissioning a snow clearing service. It does the work for you and the good for you: Winter road clearance services can even be tax deductible. We have also often toyed with the idea of commissioning a winter road maintenance service. Since it snowed in the past winters mostly only on a few days, the winter service would not have been worthwhile for us.

4. enjoy the snow

Otherwise: Eyes closed and through. In four months at the latest, it will be done and the world will turn green again. Children also love the snow and a sleigh ride, a snowball fight and the construction of a snowman can also be fun.

How about you guys? Do you like winter? Do you still have any tips on snow clearing and spreading?