Natural Resources


Date: February 27, 2004

Location: Capstan Island, Labrador

Easting: 518500

Northing: 5713000

Latitude: 51° 34' 00" N

Longitude: 56° 44' 00" W

Fatalities: 0

Injuries: 0

Source: Rodney Barney, Bruce Whiffen, Crystal Pike; personal communication

Southeastern Labrador was battered by a three-day blizzard Feb 26-28. Cartwright reported a total of 120.6 cm of snow. On Friday 28 Feb an avalanche blocked the road at Capstan Island in the same area as an avalanche had occurred in 1995. There was no damage other than to some trees, as it happened in an undeveloped area. The hill is about 800 feet high and is a nearly vertical rise in spots. The road was cleared on Saturday 28 February.

On March 4 CBC radio carried an interview with a resident of L''Anse au Loup. Following a meeting the previous day, residents of that community were refusing to send their children to school in Forteau due to concerns about avalanche hazard along the road. The area of concern was locally known as Crow Head, and walls of snow 10 m high were overhanging the road at this point.

CBC web site: Road conditions keep kids out of school CORNER BROOK The school board in the southern Labrador community of L'Anse-au-Loup is supporting a decision by parents to keep their children out of school because of poor road conditions. The parents decided during a meeting Wednesday night not to allow 70 students to travel by bus to Mountain Field Academy in the nearby community of Forteau.

The Mayor of L'Anse-au-Loup and parent, Darryl O' Brien, says there's a problem with snow buildup along the sides of the road. "There's concern that the possibility of a snowslide on the section of road between L'Anse-au-Loup and Forteau known as Crow Head," he says.

O'Brien says the 10-metre high snow wall is located on a rock cut and could easily bury a school bus.

The Director of Education at the Northern Peninsula-Labrador South School District, Jesse Payne, agrees the area is not safe. "It seems the snow is breaking, like there's cracks in the snow on the upper level of the hill. We decided last night in consultation with the principal that we would hold those school buses from coming in to Mountain Field today," he says.

Payne says the board is working with the provincial Department of Transportation to fix the problem. The school was closed Thursday due to bad weather, but parents say they won't allow their children back unless the area is safe.

Road blocked by an avalanche in the Capstan Island area along the Labrador Straits, Feb. 28, 2004. It is difficult to see much because of the low visibility in blowing snow, but you can pick out the road in the background if you look closely. (SOURCE: CRYSTAL PIKE).

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