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Late winter pounding
Rankin Inlet gets record snowfall this past week

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Old Man Winter had one last blast left in him, and he let it out with a mighty roar in Rankin Inlet this past week.

NNSL photo/graphic

Arnie Brown of NDL Construction powers his loader forward while helping to clear the massive amount of snow a late season storm dropped on Rankin Inlet this past week. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Rankin was bombed with a total of 92 cm of snow from Tuesday, May 14, until the storm finally wheezed its last breath around 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 16.

The snow that fell in Rankin during the two days represents more than 75 per cent of the community's annual total snowfall of 119.7 cm.

Rankin was buzzing with the sound of heavy equipment for days after the storm, as the community dug out from the massive snowfall.

Residents were asked to stay home by Mayor Robert Janes on May 14 to give the hamlet a chance to open the main road arteries within the community and return some semblance of normal life.

Arnie Brown has lived in Rankin for more than 20 years -- more than nine as hamlet foreman -- and said he doesn't remember too many snowfalls the size of this one.

He said he does remember a few blizzards where falling snow combined with snow blowing in off the land to bring almost as much of the white stuff into the community, but not too many.

"A lot of snow fell during this storm," said Brown.

"Nine or 10 years ago, a blizzard blew a lot of snow in from the land on top of what the system carried, itself, and it was rooftop to rooftop in Area 6.

"This much snow in such a short period of time puts a huge strain on snow removal.

"There's only so much equipment, and only so many hours in a day, to clear something like this."

Brown said it's hard to keep people home who have been trapped inside for days.

He said it takes a hamlet crew a week, or more, to get a snowfall like this totally cleaned up.

"With the municipality of Rankin Inlet's gear, you're probably looking at five pieces of equipment going hard over seven or eight days with however many hours they put out.

"That's in addition to the work private contractors are doing at the same time.

"This was all fresh, wet and heavy snow, not the snow we're used to, so it will have a big impact on our annual runoff.

"This, basically, fell straight down and it had lots of moisture content, so the town can expect to be really messy for awhile with the warmer temperatures setting in."

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