Canada’s government has said military reserves may be called in to help after entire neighbourhoods were buried by a record-breaking snow storm.
A state of emergency has been declared in St John’s, the capital of Newfoundland, after the blizzard dumped up to 76.2cm onto the city alongside wind gusts of 81mph.
The snowfall was an all-time record for the day for St. John’s International Airport, which has been closed.
Thousands of people have been left without power in freezing temperatures, and Canada’s federal government has now mobilised to help the stricken province, helping to dig out citizens who have been trapped in their homes.
The nation’s prime minster Justin Trudeau said help was “on its way”.
For many households it’s proven to be a struggle just to get out the front door, with drifts piling up against homes and in some cases entirely blocking access:
1:00 local time. Tomorrow's gonna be a long day lol. But I'm perfectly fine here. Never lost power. All that snow can be tossed into the bathtub to start off with. And if I really need to get outside there's always the kitchen window. pic.twitter.com/gY1PtsKdz5— Ernie Powell (@etrevorpowell) January 18, 2020
Or their garages for that matter:
In some cases, the snow was so deep that residents were forced to dig tunnels or deep trenches just to be able to get in and out of their own homes:
Getting out of the house might have been one thing, but finding the car would prove quite another:
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC) confirmed a report of an avalanche slamming into a home in St. John’s Battery neighbourhood, which sits at the entrance to the city’s harbour on the slopes of a steep hill.
A picture of the home on Twitter showed the living room filled with snow. The CBC also said a 26-year-old man has been reported missing after having set out to walk to a friend’s house on Friday during the blizzard.
Blizzard touches off avalanche, prompting evacuations in the Battery neighbourhood in St. John's. No one was hurt. Here's the story: https://t.co/BTELZBJhs6— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) January 18, 2020
The country’s natural resources minister Seamus O’Regan said military reservists might be called in, but details of the assistance had yet to be worked out. The immediate priority will be snow removal and clearing roads to the snowbound hospital, he said.
“We have a real issue right now with access to the hospital,” O’Regan told reporters in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is meeting for two days in a what it has called a retreat.
Commenting on the scale of the blizzard, O’Regan said: “It’s snow and a hurricane, and snow and a hurricane shuts down a city.”
The public safety and defence ministers, who were en route to Winnipeg, would be able to provide more details later, O’Regan said. Earlier, the provincial premier asked the government for support, including “mobilising the Canadian armed forces.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.