HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – Heavy snow pummeled coastal areas of Nova Scotia in Canada over the weekend as a strong low-pressure system stalled just off the Canadian Maritimes.
Widespread snow totals of well over a foot were observed across the province as the storm pummeled the region from Friday into Monday. A volunteer observer in Sydney, Nova Scotia, reported 59 inches of snow, according to Environment Canada. The official observation in town reported just over 40 inches.
"You had to go out every couple of hours to dig yourself out and dig your door out, so you could open and close it," Sydney, Nova Scotia resident Eli Jackman told FOX Weather. "The snowfall itself was over 4 feet and some snow drifts got up to 8 feet."
Halifax’s airport recorded just over 33 inches of snow during the storm, with widespread totals of 12-16 inches in the heart of town.
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"I assure you we will dig out. It will take time, but we will dig out," Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said during a news conference Monday. "It has certainly been a historic snow event."
What was Jackman’s first reaction when he saw all the snow piling up outside?
"I wish I was in Kentucky," he said.
Houston said there were 500 calls for help to 911 on Sunday and another 300 calls Monday. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were busy clearing several snow-related crashes along the region's streets and highways.
The snow has since tapered off, but snowplows are still struggling to clear such a tremendous amount of snow.
"I have never seen a snowfall like this," Jackman said. "And then shoveling it out, you’re dealing with a sunny day, it’s like 33-34 (degrees F) and you’re getting slight snow melt. Then overnight, it drops to 26 and everything freezes. And then you’re not just dealing with getting the snow out of the way, you’re dealing with slippery ground."
Mark Peachey, Chief of Public Works in Nova Scotia, says more than 1,000 workers are using 400 pieces of equipment to clear roads. Houston said they are bringing in extra equipment from the western side of Nova Scotia, which was spared the onslaught, as well as neighboring provinces.
"If you can help a friend or neighbor dig out, please do, but be careful not to overdo it," Houston said.
Houston said he was not aware of any communities that were completely cut off by heavy snow, but there are a lot of people in rural areas whose roads are impassable right now.
"There are lots of families that we know are isolated," Houston said. "We just ask them to be patient … It will be days before some of these rural roads are cleared."