Jill Colton, staff writer
February 7, 2011 — It was another weekend of extreme winter weather for Atlantic Canada, with heavy snow and forceful winds. Now the region is gearing up for the next blast of stormy weather.
It's been a brutally harsh winter for Atlantic Canadians, and it doesn't want to let up. The region has been averaging almost one major storm per week since the season began.
The latest bout of active weather swept through on Saturday. An intense low pressure system tracked south of New Brunswick dropping a large helping of snow over the Maritimes and Newfoundland. This is on top of the piles of snow already lining the streets from Wednesday's 'Groundhog Day Storm'.
According to Shelley Steeves, The Weather Network's reporter in Moncton, the snow was really hitting the area hard by mid-morning Sunday.
It's been a tough winter in particular for Moncton. About 22 cm enveloped the ground with the latest wallop. However, the city has already been slammed with nearly 250 cm of snow so far.
The heavy snow led to a serious damage to a building. There was a partial roof collapse at the Moncton Headstart building over the weekend. There was no one inside at the time but police taped off the entrances to stop people from coming in. The entire building is closed until it's determined whether it's safe to be inside.
Other communities in New Brunswick were also inundated with fresh snow: Miramichi (16 cm), Fredericton (18 cm), Kouchbouguac (28 cm) and Summerside, PEI (27 cm).
The same system delivered a snow surprise to parts of Ontario Saturday too.
Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, says the storm was more intense than it first appeared in models, adding the proximity of large bodies of water tends to drive up snowfall totals in the Atlantic provinces. “Atlantic Canada has a great moisture feed,” she says.
Gusting winds combined with the mounds of snow, didn't help motorists. Dangerous conditions were a headache for drivers and in one case, they may have proved fatal.
RCMP investigators in Nova Scotia are trying to determine if a slushy surface was a factor in a car plunging off a wharf in Hantsport, N.S. A 17-year-old girl was killed on Saturday, while the two men in the vehicle with her, managed to get out and make it to shore. They remain in critical condition.
Another concern for some communities is where they're going to put this latest batch of snow. Officials in Moncton have voiced concern about the continuous storms that have hit this season and the strain it's putting on the city's annual snow removal budget.
Other cities, like Halifax, are urging residents to do their part to help with snow removal - and fining people who don't do their share.
The low didn't slow down once it tracked into Newfoundland on Sunday. “Some areas were hit with some 15 cm in the course of 6 hours,” affirms Rob Davis, another meteorologist here at The Weather Network.
Significant snowfall coated parts of the province. As of early Monday morning, Deer Lake had recorded 30 cm and Gander saw 31 cm. Raging winds also lashed communities.
The region will get a much deserved break from the harsh weather on Monday, but another system is revving up for Tuesday and could bring an additional 10 to 20 cm of snow.
The Weather Network's meteorologists are keeping an eye on this brewing storm, so make sure you keep up to date with your local forecast.
With files from Andrea Stockton and Alexandra Pope.