CHURCHILL, Man. – When the sun finally broke through a blizzard that lasted three days in a northern Manitoba town, a local leader said it looked like the moon.
Churchill declared a state of local emergency on Friday after about 60 centimetres had fallen since earlier in the week, driven by wind gusts of up to 120 km/h.
Deputy mayor Shane Hutchins says there were nine metre drifts in some streets.
The once-a-week train that normally delivers supplies couldn’t make it when the line was shut down, but Hutchins says the Northern store has arranged to fly goods in on Sunday.
The town has called it an “unprecedented weather event” and that the emergency declaration will allow it to acquire extra resources to deal with the cleanup.
Hutchins says it’s the worst combination of snow and wind he’s seen in his 50 years in Churchill.
“All that wind-driven snow is like cement,” Hutchins said Saturday. He said the landscape had a lunar appearance to it.
The blizzard that hit many of the areas of the province also left six people stranded on a highway northwest of Thompson for three days. Members of the group managed to get help by breaking into an MTS cellphone tower and using a phone.
During the blizzard, Churchill advised its residents to remain indoors for their own safety. It said access to many of its buildings was limited due to snow that was blocking entrances.
VIA Rail cancelled its Friday train from The Pas to Churchill, and the train from Churchill to Winnipeg on Saturday was also cancelled.
“When the wind died down and the sun poked out, the store was very busy. It was like a mall in the city at Christmas,” Hutchins said, adding that the power never failed and Internet still worked.
“My kids were happy because they were shut in with Netflix,” he said.