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NNSL Photo/graphic

Snow removal crews have been working around the clock to dig Hay River out of the snow. - Erika Sherk/NNSL photo

How about that snow, eh?

Erika Sherk
Northern News Services

Hay River (Nov 13/06) - Hay River woke up Monday morning to face a cold, hard truth: winter has arrived. There is no turning back.

After a record snowfall, people were out clearing mounds of snow off their vehicles, as the wind picked up the snow and blew it into their faces.

"It sucks." was how one Hay Riverite put it. Brian Kovatch was warm in his store, Superior Sound Audiotronics, but the memories of shoveling his driveway had yet to fade.

"It's just too much in a short period of time," he said. "I've lived here 44 years and I can't remember ever seeing anything like this."

However, he had kind words for the snow removal team in the town.

"It's the best in the territories," he said.

"I haven't ever seen another community as aggressive as this one."

It speaks of a good town council when snow removal is that fast, he said.

It also speaks to the dedication of the snow removal teams when you consider the fact that they were out in the snowy mess at 4 a.m. Monday morning.

"We usually have them out at 5:30 a.m," said Todd Pittman, senior administrative officer for the town, "but given the amount of snow they went out early."

Unofficially, the snowfall from Saturday Oct. 4 to Wednesday, Oct. 8 was about 62 cm (2 ft). That is a single centimetre short of Hay River's average snowfall for October, November and December all put together.

The numbers were put together by Yvonne Bilan-Wallace, an Environment Canada meteorologist in Edmonton.

"I hope you've got a big shovel," she said of the recent snowfall.

It can mostly be blamed on Great Slave Lake, she said, and the fact that it has not frozen over yet.

"Hay River was the proud recipient of 'lee of the lake' snow," she said.

When the cold air comes over the warm lake, the air sucks up the moisture and it leads to more extreme snowfalls, explained Bilan-Wallace.

"It's maddening," said Dayna Haley, co-owner of La Dee Dah Boutique, a new clothing store in town.

"I had to sweep my car off four times on Sunday," she said.

It was mostly the grown-up set complaining as Hay River schools were all closed on Monday.

"I got to sleep in," said Kyle Biggar, instead of going to a day of Grade 10 studies at Diamond Jenness.

Alana Croucher, a Grade 8 student at Diamond Jenness, hadn't known that it was a snow day.

"I got up and went to school," she said, adding she was happy when she got to return home.

"I just don't like school," she said, by way of explanation.

Good news for students - we probably haven't seen the last of the snow.

"You can definitely expect more," said Bilan-Wallace, "but it's getting to be that time of the year."

Things should calm down once the lake freezes over. Until then, "you can get all sorts of interesting weather," she said.