Ice, drifting snow, slowing down clearing efforts in Nova Scotia

HALIFAX – Cleaning up after Sunday’s storm was a challenge for homeowners as well as city and provincial crews, all busy fighting to break through what is more ice than snow.

“We have a layer of ice packed pretty much everywhere, pretty much on most streets and sidewalks. We’ll have to keep treating that surface and hopefully get it to a point where it’s passable,” said Darrin Natolino, Halifax’s Superintendent of Winter Operations.

With salting mostly ineffective in low temperatures, crews have instead been relying on sand and gravel to provide traction.
Natolino admits the latest string of storms has been hard on the city’s snow clearing equipment.

“It’s made to withstand this kind of work but when you’re running it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, smashing up against snow banks that are essentially as hard as concrete it takes its toll” said Natolino.

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“We can’t afford to have gear down right now we have to keep everything out on the road that we can have out there.”

The cleanup outside of Halifax also proved to be quite the headache, however wasn’t the ice that was creating the challenge there, but the blowing snow.

“As quick as we can plow in some locations, because of the drifting (snow), it’s closing right back in, so the roads, even though we’re working to open them up, some of them are drifting back in on us,” said Kevin Mitchell, Nova Scotia’s Director of Operation Services.

According to Mitchell, the province’s Transportation department is anticipating it will be at least 48 hours before some local roads in northern Nova Scotia are open to traffic again.

The province is asking people to stay home to allow crews to clear the roads, and is advising those who have to travel to first go to the province’s website or call 511 to check current road conditions.