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Friday, February 28, 2020

Grey Bruce Battered By Winter Storm

Grey Bruce | by Matt Hermiz  

Work starts to clean-up after big dump of snow.

The snow is still falling in Grey Bruce and expected to continue through Saturday morning, but work is underway to start cleaning-up after last night's big dump.

According to Environment Canada, after non-stop snow yesterday Owen Sound saw some 55-plus centimetres on the ground this morning as recorded at the nearest measuring station in Chatsworth.

On the Lake Huron shoreline, Goderich recorded the highest snowfall amount at more than 70 centimetres. Snowfall totals were a bit lighter on the Bruce Peninsula with 20 centimetres at Wiarton. In southern Grey, Markdale got a fresh blanket of close to 30 centimetres.

In Owen Sound, residents awoke to find several feet of snow piled up in doorways, cars buried and side streets that were impassable without a heavy-duty vehicle. Snowmobiles could be seen motoring around at times throughout residential areas.

A band of neighbours on 1st Street West in Owen Sound took it among themselves to clear the three-plus-foot high snow drifts locking everyone in their driveways. They took their snowblowers onto the streets together and walked a line to clear a 400-metre stretch of road up to 4th Ave West, a main route, which had been cleared already by a city plow.

"The streets were packed solid with snow, a good three or four feet of it," says Dave Mcgall, one of the neighbours involved in the community clean-up. "We were helping some people get out cause they were all stuck. We had a big brigade of snowblowers and tractors going up and down the street."

Mcgall has lived in Owen Sound since 1997 and says this is the second-largest snowfall he's seen. He can't pin down the precise year, but recalls one bigger blast of snow in 1998 or 1999.

"There was only one path down the street and they had to use a big snowblower to clear it all the way down," Mcgall says. "The snow was higher than my shoulders."

Paul Watling was another neighbour on 1st Street West who worked to clear the road. He says they are expecting it may take a couple of days for a plow to come by, so they just decided to take it on themselves.

Andrew Warwick lives on 6th Avenue West and looked out his window this morning to notice something missing in his driveway.

"We couldn't find one car in the laneway," Warwick says. 

By 10 a.m., after some nifty work with the snowblower, Warwick had located and dug out both his vehicles, as well as managed to clear out most of the accumulation on his driveway.

Warwick says this is the heaviest snowfall he can recall in recent memory.

"We've been living in this house for 12 years," Warwick explains. "This is the biggest one having lived in this house."

Owen Sound's Director of Public Works and Engineering Dennis Kefalas says all of the city's public works crews are working around the clock to clear roads and sidewalks.

Main routes in the city and hills continue to be the focus. Kefalas says clearing has begun on some residential side streets, but cautions efforts may shift back to major routes as snowfall dictates.

It may take until Monday for sidewalks in Owen Sound to be plowed.

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