January 17, 2020 / 10:03 PM / 3 months ago

Blizzard slams Canada's Newfoundland, state of emergency declared in capital

A snowy street is pictured in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada January 17, 2020. Zach Bonnell/via REUTERS

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A winter blizzard hammered Canada’s Atlantic coast on Friday packing wind gusts of more than 120 km/h (75 mph) and dumping more than 60 cm (2 feet) in some areas, prompting several towns in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to declare a state of emergency.

The mayor of St. John’s, the provincial capital, ordered all businesses to close and told people to stay home. Later in the day the conditions grew so poor that snow plows were taken off the roads.

Videos and pictures on social media were dramatic, with white-out conditions and snowdrifts burying cars and piling up to entirely cover the doors and windows in homes.

“To everyone in (Newfoundland and Labrador) affected by the storm, please listen to your local authorities,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter. “We want you to stay safe, and keep the roads clear for emergency vehicles and snow clearing... We’re ready to help if needed.”

Thousands lost electricity, Newfoundland Power said on its web site, including the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s office in St. John’s.

Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Alistair Bell

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