District digging out from blizzard


Anyone who thought spring was just around the corner had their bubble burst as a major winter storm dumped 32 cm (13.1 inches) of snow on Borderland yesterday.
More than a few people reported late for work this morning as residents faced the arduous task of digging out.
And while the snow has stopped, blowing snow and bitter wind chills forecast for today certainly won’t make that job any easier.
Fortunately, no serious accidents were reported due to the storm. Cst. Anne McCoy of the Fort Frances OPP said police received 24 calls since 10 a.m. yesterday.
Officers responded to five motor vehicle collisions (but no serious injuries) and four traffic hazards (vehicles blocking the roadway and impeding traffic). They also laid two charges for traffic violations.
As well, police responded to two false alarms at local
buildings which went off due to the weather.
“I think people took a look at the weather and thought, ‘Yeah, I’ve got to slow it down,’” Cst. McCoy said.
The storm also closed many highways across Northwestern Ontario, including Highway 502 to Dryden, Highway 11 from Fort Frances to Shabaqua, and the Trans-Canada from the Manitoba border to Thunder Bay.
While these roads are now open, police are advising motorists to drive with caution.
The Ministry of Transportation reported many roads throughout the district remained snow-covered, with snow-packed sections, while visibility was poor in many cases.
Road condition updates are available by calling the MTO’s toll-free road information number at 1-800-465-5032.
Meanwhile, schools across the district were open today, although buses within town and east of Fort Frances were cancelled. But many of the buses for Rainy River High School and elementary schools in the west part of the district were running this morning.
Unfortunately, the storm cancelled Robert Moore School’s presentation of “The Wizard of Oz,” which was scheduled for yesterday evening.
The school said it will be rescheduled for after the March Break.
As well, students from Rainy River High School en route home after a ski trip to Biwabik had to spend the night in Fort Frances because of the weather.
According to the U.S. National Weather Service in International Falls, yesterday’s snowfall brought the monthly total to 47.8 cm (18.8”), which is 40.1 cm (15.8”) above average.
It also added to this year’s total recorded snowfall, which now sits at 284 cm (111.8”)—145.3 cm (57.2”) above normal.