With the State of Emergency in place, Newfoundlanders grabbed their shovels and their sense of humour and did more than persevere, they entertained the country
There’s a very famous quote from Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of two Cities that reads, ‘‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.’’
Well, Newfoundlanders embraced that quote and then some, turning a 90-plus cm snowfall and an imposed State of Emergency into something that created FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) through the rest of the province and the country. The unprecedented snow that fell, accompanied by the out-of-this-world wind gusts, created blizzard conditions and essentially shut down the Eastern section of the island. Folks who had to dig their way out of their homes found the humour, and created the best of times, out of a very worst of times situation.
From a mother who was brought to the hospital by snowmobile in the height of the storm to deliver her baby, to viral videos of a car window left down in a snowstorm, Newfoundlanders captured the world’s attention.
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HEROES AMONG US
Cheers galore to the masses who stepped up to the plate. When the snow was at its highest and the chips were down, Newfoundlanders helped our own.
From neighbour helping neighbour, sharing food and muscle power, to the mighty Canadian military who picked up shovels and helped those who couldn’t help themselves, we salute all the heroes who thought of others before themselves during Snowmageddon 2020.
It was the province’s worst storm in decades, forcing the capital city into a week-long state of emergency, igniting a federal government response to call in the military.
At the height of the blizzard, over 15,000 homes were without power in Eastern Newfoundland and many hunkered down for what some have called the storm of a generation. Almost 100 cm of snow would fall in some areas, with winds gusts in excess of 150 kilometers per hour – paralyzing metro.
NTV staff braved the hurricane-force winds and blinding snow right up until the region’s state of emergency was called at 11 a.m. – ensuring viewers had the latest, essential information. The station even broke into regular programming throughout the day with news and weather checkpoints, providing viewers with up-to-date information.
Then, as reporters filed stories and anchors readied the evening newscasts, it became clear that those at NTV’s headquarters on Logy Bay Road were not leaving that night. Some came prepared with sleeping bags and pillows while others only the clothes on their backs but all had the same attitude – a positive one. The mindset was, as journalists, there was no place they’d rather be than reporting the news that mattered to this province, and abroad.
Management ensured there was plenty of food in advance so all that was left was for the 15 or so NTV employees to gather the latest developments throughout the evening – hoping the power would stay on. In fact, earlier in the evening, NTV’s First Edition and The NTV Evening Newshour were the only local television news programs to air in the province that night.
And the country took notice. NTV reporters Kelly-Ann Roberts, David Salter and Leila Beaudoin all had reports leading the CTV national news broadcasts. There were countless newscasts, the morning checkpoints locally and CTV, a lunch-time show, evening newscasts and all other breaking events, NTV News was there.
In a time of chaos for the City of St. John’s, NTV was a reliable force – bringing essential information to its citizens. A proud moment for the province’s leading television news outlet.
For reporters, it was about a team coming together to tell the story.
Some what may, Newfoundlanders seem to always face adversity with an equal dose of humour and fearlessness.
From moose on roofs, to snow drifts with no end, the storm that struck this province on Friday, January 17th, was like no other before in history. But even with a week-long State of Emergency imposed, with businesses and schools closed throughout the metro region, the best side, and certainly the lighter side, of Newfoundlanders shone through.
Facebook lit up, particularly with the site NL Snowmageddon 2020 Information Center launched by NL’s Nick Cranford. The page provided information as well as hilarity to those house bound, stir crazy and to-the-bone tired from all the digging out. There were ice chucks big enough to be an iceberg, and doors buried in snow. And still, we laughed.
MAKING THE BEST OF IT
Catastrophe? What catastrophe? The storm that shut down the oldest city in North America brought out the very best out of Newfoundlanders. And isn’t that the way we operate?
When life gets tough, we buckle down, do the work and even have a party or two out of it! There were impromptu shindigs held in make-shift snow-sheds, and food was shared, not to mention a nip of drink here there and everywhere. Even those who missed their planned travel dates down south took the fun to a new level, turning snowdrifts into tiki bars and pubs in the snow. And let’s be honest, can Florida offer this much fun and ingenious make-the-best-ofness like we can?!