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Storm causes school closures, power outages across Atlantic Canada

Staff writers

February 18, 2013 — A powerful storm blasting much of Atlantic Canada has resulted in dangerous driving conditions, widespread power outages and school cancellations.

Snowfall totals
Snowfall totals

Be sure to tune into The Weather Network on TV for LIVE updates on this storm

Rain, snow and powerful winds. An intense low pressure system is bringing a messy mix to much of Atlantic Canada. 

Rain developed ahead of the system on Saturday afternoon and then changed to freezing rain and snow by the evening and overnight hours.

"By 5 am on Monday, over 20 cm of snow had already fallen in parts of the Maritimes," says Gerald Cheng, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. 

In addition to the snow, strong winds gusting over 100 km/h have been recorded. 

"The powerful winds will continue for much of the day on Monday and will give reduced visibilities in blowing snow," adds Cheng.  

According to Environment Canada, the winds may also produce higher than normal water levels, which could cause ice to push in along the gulf coast. 

Several school districts in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia cancelled classes for the day Monday and police officials are asking motorists to avoid any unnecessary travel. 

It's Islander Day in PEI, but many residents are choosing to stay home due to the poor road conditions. The messy mix also forced Charlottetown's Winter Fun Festival to cancel its outdoor activities Sunday.

Strong winds and heavy snow has caused significant damage to power lines
Strong winds and heavy snow has caused significant damage to power lines

Significant storm damage to power lines has left thousands of residents across the Maritimes without electricity. 

A spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Power said repair crews were having difficulty reaching some areas in the southern half of the province due to the poor driving conditions.

"They're experiencing severe weather there (in the Annapolis Valley) which is causing travel delays for our crews and will impact restoration efforts throughout the day," said Lauren Brown, a spokeswoman for the utility.

Over 50 communities in Newfoundland's northern peninsula also lost power Sunday night. 

Airports in Halifax, Moncton and St. John's, Newfoundland were reporting delays and cancellations early Monday and those with air travel plans are encouraged to call ahead to check the status of their flights. 

Conditions will improve across the Maritimes Monday afternoon as the system slowly tracks towards Newfoundland. 

Western sections of Newfoundland could see up to 30 cm of snow by the time all is said and done.

Unlike the blizzard which pummeled the region with snow last weekend, this storm has featured more rain and precipitation. 

With files from The Canadian Press

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