HRM residents recover after massive snowstorm

Haligonians sore from shovelling, tired by travel delays

4 min read
A snowplow and the worker sits inside.
caption A worker waits in a snowplow truck on Brunswick Street in Halifax on Wednesday. Snow removal crews were still busy with the weekend storm's aftermath two days after it ended.
Xixi Jiang

Flight cancellations, car accidents, and intense snow shovelling over the three-day snowstorm this weekend left many Halifax residents tired and annoyed.

Halifax resident Kaling Zhang was stuck at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Friday night.

“It’s very frustrating,” Zhang said. “I was really tired. I had a very long international flight before that.”

Zhang flew for 15 hours from Shanghai, China to Seoul, South Korea before receiving an email from WestJet that her flight from Toronto to Halifax had been cancelled because of the snow.

Her anxiety increased as the flights kept being delayed for a second and third day. She had to spend at least $800 on temporary accommodation.

“Definitely it’s not a very pleasant travelling experience,” Zhang said.

Zhang was one of many travellers who were delayed returning home to Halifax.

Leah Batstone, a spokesperson for Halifax Stanfield International Airport, said around 70 flights were cancelled over the weekend.

The storm dumped more than 50 cm of snow on the city, forcing Metro Transit to suspend service on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, schools closed and garbage collection was cancelled. Almost 1,500 cars were ticketed or towed for violating the overnight winter parking ban.

Zhilan Cheng was supposed to return to Halifax from Vancouver on Saturday night, but the flight was delayed until Monday night. When Air Canada rebooked her flight, it routed her through Montreal, making the flight home longer and more complicated.

 “I had to cancel and reschedule everything,” Cheng said.

A message screenshot said the flight was cancelled, rebooked and connected the passenger through Montreal.
caption Zhilan Cheng received a message that her flight was cancelled, rebooked and routed through Montreal.
Zhilan Cheng

Zhang and Cheng both returned to their homes in Halifax on Tuesday at around 3:30 a.m., tired from their ordeals.

The storm forced tent encampment resident Neil Pundick into one of the city’s shelters.

Pundick returned to Halifax’s Grand Parade on Monday, where he had been living in a tent since last October. He moved to a temporary shelter at the Halifax Forum on Friday after his tent collapsed from snow. His tent had been damaged in the storm and it was repaired by municipal staff on Monday.

“It’s cold,” Pundick said. “I have to stay in the tent now, but I got no heater.”

“I have severe trench foot and frostbite,” he said.

A man smokes in front of red tent.
caption Neil Pundick smokes in front of red tents in the Grand Parade, Halifax
Xixi Jiang

On the other side of Halifax, Rucheng Yang’s car hit the curb on Washmill Lake Drive.

“The snow was too heavy, the heaviest than I had ever seen in Halifax. So, when I tried to make a turn on steep slopes, I couldn’t decrease my speed,” Yang said.

His car crashed into the curb and its left front wheel rim broke. He waited more than two hours in the snow before the police came to rescue him.

Yang’s car is being repaired and he expects to pay $1,500 for the damages.

A broken car rim
caption RuCheng Yang’s car rim broke after hitting the curb on Washmill Lake Drive.
Rucheng Yang

The heavy snowfall made shovelling snow much more difficult.

Echo Li’s wrists are sore after shovelling snow for her home in the city’s South End for two hours on Saturday. She and her roommates shovelled snow for an average of four and a half hours a day during the snowstorm and they could only clear a narrow path out to the sidewalk.

“For people like me who regularly train five times a week, shovelling snow feels very physically intense,” Li, a fitness coach, said.

“If a normal workout is rated seven or eight for intensity, then shovelling snow must be rated 10,” Li said. “Shovelling snow for two hours definitely burned 300 to 400 calories.”

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About the author

Xixi Jiang

Xixi Jiang, who often goes by Jacky, is from China. She’s a fourth-year student in BJH program at the University of King’s College.

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