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Canada Avalanche in St. John's neighbourhood prompts partial evacuation

05:06  18 january  2020
05:06  18 january  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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In St . Johns County most low-lying areas along the coast are designated evacuation zone "A". That means those areas are likely to be inundated by a hurricanes storm surge of An Evacuation Order means that life-threatening conditions are possible in your area soon. This should be taken seriously.

An avalanche in Gurtnellen, Switzerland, on Tuesday.Credit Urs Flueeler/Keystone, via Associated Press. But recent thaws followed by heavy rainfall have upended travel and led to evacuations in much of the region, as thick packs of snow dislodge and trigger avalanches .

a refrigerator covered in snow: Firefighters evacuated a few dozen homes in the Battery neighbourhood of St. John's, officials said, after an avalanche struck on Friday evening. © Francesca Swann/CBC Firefighters evacuated a few dozen homes in the Battery neighbourhood of St. John's, officials said, after an avalanche struck on Friday evening.

A few dozen homes in the Battery area of St. John's were evacuated Friday evening after an avalanche hit the community amid a powerful blizzard, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said in a tweet.

Residents said firefighters began the evacuation around 8 p.m. NT and the St. John's Regional Fire Department said it will provide an update when more information is available.

Mayor Danny Breen told CBC's Mainstreet only one house was damaged by the avalanche and no one was injured.

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St . Johns ’ Neighborhood Vibe. St . John ’ s is described by locals as “extremely friendly“, “A town within a city…” St . Johns ’ Neighborhood Association page with meeting times, census data, and more. Stjohnsreview.com – Portland’ s oldest community newspaper.

He said the police and fire department were assessing the area to see if there were any further risks.

Residents Chris Brookes and Christina Smith told CBC's Mainstreet they own two homes in the Battery. The one they rent out to a tenant was hit by the avalanche.

"She was very lucky and managed to get out of the way. We're all a bit shaken here," Smith said.

"Our houses are up in behind, underneath the cliffs, there's a cleft in the hill just behind … Basically what happened is the snow must have built up there."

Smith said she was out shovelling the deck not long before the avalanche, but came in because of the wind.

"[The wind] was coming from the east and then it veered round, right into my face, and I thought, 'There's no use keeping this up,'" she said.

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About 45 minutes later, "There was an almighty thump."

They got a call from their tenant that the house was full of snow and they dashed over.

"There was a huge amount of snow that came crashing in the kitchen window and filled up the whole kitchen and the living room," Brookes said.

"Everybody is OK," he said, even the five chickens that live in a coop.

Smith said they shoveled tons of snow out of the living room and kitchen.

She praised the fire department, who also helped shovel when they arrived.

"They had to walk down probably about half a mile up to their waist in snow to get to the Battery in the first place, then they had to shovel their way up to the house," Smith said.

Neighbour Rick Page went out to help, but was promptly told by first responders to return home.

"When an avalanche falls on your neighbour's house, you kind of want to go out and see if there's anything you can do," he said.

Page said firefighters were worried more snow might come down.

He said they were told to be prepared to be evacuated, but firefighters haven't returned to relocate them.

"I'm just wondering if they're going to be able to do it, the amount of snow that's down here," Page said.

At 6 p.m. NT on Friday, St. John's temporarily suspended snow-clearing operations citing bad visibility. The city said snowplow operators remain on standby at various locations, including hospitals, fire departments and the Battery.

'Vodka for butter': The art of bartering for food in snow-covered St. John's .
By Prajwala Dixit Before grocery stores reopened in snow-covered St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador on Tuesday, locals took to the age-old, yet ingenious way of surviving — bartering. Faced with shuttered stores for four days and a state of emergency there was little else people could do. When Andie Bulman, a chef and caterer with the Artist Cafe, wanted to make some blueberry crumble, she put a post on Facebook asking for butter and brown sugar, in exchange for top-quality tonic water. However, exchanging alcohol seemed to garner the most success. “I’ve been doing dry January, so I mostly used my booze as leverage,” Bulman said.

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