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Snowfall dumps huge amount on parts of city

A major snowstorm that struck the city Sunday evening and dumped up to 32 centimetres of snow, has left Thunder Bay a winter wonderland Monday morning.
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A car lies buried along Highway 61 on Monday, a day after a storm dropped up to 30 centimetres on Thunder Bay and surrounding area. (Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com)

A major snowstorm that struck the city Sunday evening  and dumped up to 32 centimetres of snow, has left Thunder Bay a winter wonderland Monday morning.

City crews worked throughout the early morning Monday to clear off the freshly fallen snow from streets and sidewalks, starting at 2 a.m..

"The City of Thunder Bay is using all its resources to deal with the snowfall accumulation and blowing snow as it clears arterial and collectors streets," said roads manager Brad Adams in a release issued Monday morning.

"Crews have been out since 2 a.m. this morning plowing mainlines and sidewalks; once these are completed they will then move into residential areas. Snow removal crews will continue plowing throughout the day."

Adams reminded residents that calendar and priority winter parking regulations are still in effect.

"Residents are asked to note the restrictions posted in their neighbourhoods. Residents can help by moving cars off roads to make it easier for plows to clear. No one should be parked on arterial and collector streets between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m."

Despite efforts to clear the roads, some students will have to find alternative ways to get to school. The snowfall convinced both local school boards to cancel all scheduled buses for the day and led to the closure of the following rural-area schools:

• Crestview  Public School
• Five Mile Public School
• Gorham and Ware Community School
• Kakabeka Falls Elementary School
• McKenzie Public School
• Nor'Wester View Public School
• Valley Central Public School
• Whitefish Valley Public School

All Lakehead Public Schools and Thunder Bay District Catholic School board schools within the city are open on Monday, and it's led to the cancellation of at least one school-related meeting.

"Due to rural school closures and poor driving conditions, the Lakehead Public Schools Parent Involvement Committee meeting scheduled for this evening has been rescheduled for Monday, March 5 at the regular time," said Lakehead Public Schools spokesman Bruce Nugent. 

Local climatologist Graham Saunders said it’s the biggest amount of snow the city has seen all winter. He said the Thunder Bay International Airport was reporting more than 12 centimetres, but suspected that rural and some city areas received a lot more because of drifting.

“It’s the biggest storm this winter,” Saunders said. “I guess the conditions in the past haven’t been right.”

While the snow made driving conditions less than ideal, city police have reported no significant collisions as a result of the snow storm.

Thunder Bay Police Service traffic Sgt. Glenn Porter said most motorists used common sense last night and stayed off the roads.

He added that there were 12 collisions reported Sunday night, and two crashes reported Monday morning.

There were no serious injuries reported as a result of those collisions.

He added that he suspected most collisions to happen Monday as people go about their day.

“I`ll remind motorists to watch their speeds and make sure they stop at all stop signs and red lights,” Porter said.
“Make sure you watch for pedestrians, watch for school buses and other things. It is just a matter of making sure you can stop. It’s not the weather that’s really the problem. It separates the good drivers from the bad.
“We have 55,000 drivers registered for this area and less than one per cent of them will be involved in a collision and most of the time it is going to be intersection related.”