A freight train loaded with food and supplies pulled into Churchill three weeks late on Monday afternoon. Since March 1st, trains have been unable to travel the heavily snow – drifted train tracks than wind there way to Churchill. Two massive blizzards had virtually shut down the town and depleted stores of food and other crucial necessities ..such as beer.
Train with supplies finally makes it to Churchill. Rhonda Reid photo.
Vintage snow plow on the front of a via train. This is what connected Churchill to the outside world. Rhonda Reid photo.
Cold temperatures like Monday’s -40 C prevail thought the clearing visibility has allowed Omnitrax, owner of the rail line into Churchill, the ability to clear the tracks and allow trains to arrive from the south. Milk, fruit and vegetables were gone and meat of any variety was in short supply. Beer, in the one liquor store in town was down to a few cases.
After Churchill was hit by the third longest – lasting – blizzard in town history, residents began digging out of the massive snowfall that was accompanied by 31 hours of zero visibility and 58 long hours storm conditions.
The landscape in and around town out past the airport and beyond has been described as a moonscape by some. Purely surrealistic conditions!
Blizzard ravished Churchill. Heidi Den – Haan photo.
Environment Canada defines blizzard conditions as visibility is less than 400 m resulting from blowing and/or falling snow for a minimum of four hours. Well, Churchill endured these conditions and more for over 56 hours and now the digging out begins.
Between 9 a.m. Tuesday and 5 p.m.Thursday the town and region was under siege from mother nature’s wrath and was under full blizzard conditions. Now the town looks like the north pole. Wind and frigid conditions have prevailed hindering clean – up efforts and it will be awhile before the town is functioning normally.
Peak gusts of 105 km/hr kept the town at a standstill with only the health center open after the loading dock was cleared and used as an entrance for patients. As usual in Churchill, snowfall will be hard to measure within town limits as the wind gusts move the snow into massive drifts. More accurate measurements can be found in the boreal forest but hard to reach for sure.
These photos are pretty unbelievable and are the most snow we have seen from one system in decades! What a ride the last few days have been for all the hearty Churchillians! We should be getting some epic northern lights shots within the next week with unique snow formations in the frames.
An eight-foot tunnel of snow to get into the house! Kelly Turcotte photo.
Churchill’s loader clearing the streets finally. Jodi Grosbrink photo.
No way out of the human door even. Jodi Grosbrink photo.
Snow piled up in Churchill all the way to second story of apartments. Jodi Grosbrink photo.
Churchill is surely snowbound. Jodi Grosbrink photo.
Engine compartment of a Churchill vehicle. Belinda Fitzpatrick photo.
A hellacious blizzard is continuing to bury Churchill with heavy, drifting snow. People have been advised to remain inside and stay safe until the weather lets up sometime on Thursday. In many cases leaving the house isn’t a choice as snow buried any access to doorways anyway. Northern lights will obviously be obscured for awhile as the storm rages on. This is by far one of the most incredible storms in a long time that the town of Churchill has experienced! Stay safe and hopefully the newly updated Hydro system will keep power on!
Check out this video on location in Churchill!
Snow creeps up to the edge of window in Churchill. Kelly Turcotte photo.
“Snowed in” just got real! Kelly Turcotte photo.
Blizzard causes havoc in Churchill! Jodi Grosbrink photo.
Buildings are barely visible in Churchill. John Hrominchuk photo.
Dogs getting out in Churchill blizzard. Jodi Grosbrink photo.
The Hudson Bay Quest has finished with unofficial results posted. Tom Terry was the last musher heading into Churchill after being caught in a ground blizzard yesterday and the official word is that he scratched from the race. Tom arrived into Churchill today and the other mushers were there to welcome him in.
Tom Terry safely into Churchill. Courtesy Hudson Bay Quest.
Overall the mushers had good weather over the course of the race. Some had to battle through the ground blizzard that blew in at the tail end of the race. While time results have been posted, the official place finishes will be revealed tonight at the mushers banquet at 5:30 pm in Churchill.
I won’t speculate as to the 2015 winner at this point as the times can be adjusted by the race marshal for different infractions over the course. Stay tuned for final results in tomorrow’s post!
Mushers Dave Daley #3 and Justin Allen #4 arrive at the Churchill finish in this year’s Hudson Bay Quest. Courtesy Hudson Bay Quest.
An eager participant of this years Hudson Bay Quest. Laurie Dingwall photo.
Justin Allen in bib #4. Laurie Dingwall photo.
An avid fan congratulates her grandpa at the finish in Churchill. Laurie Dingwall photo.
Musher Dave Daley congratulates one of his race dogs. Laurie Dingwall photo.
2015 Musher Justin Allen and sled dog post race. Laurie Dingwall photo.