Alexandra Pope, staff writer
February 3, 2011 — The 'Groundhog Day Storm' continued to cause problems in Atlantic Canada Thursday.
A massive storm that brought heavy snow and strong winds to much of eastern Canada Wednesday made its presence felt in Atlantic Canada on Thursday as well.
After parts of Nova Scotia received more than 30 cm of snow on Groundhog Day, schools in the Tri-County area, Annapolis Valley and Halifax were closed for a second day Thursday.
Operations at Halifax Stanfield International Airport are beginning to get back to normal, but a number of flights were still cancelled or delayed Thursday morning.
The story was much the same in Prince Edward Island, where snow-covered roads were thought to be responsible for a crash between a car and a school bus that sent some students to hospital with minor injuries.
The latest round of wintery weather to hit the Maritimes brought back memories for some New Brunswickers of the “Groundhog Gale” of 1976. Schools across southern New Brunswick were closed Wednesday, and blowing snow had RCMP urging motorists to stay home.
Mark Robinson, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, said calculating the exact snowfall totals from this storm has been difficult because a weaker low moved through the Maritimes on Tuesday night ahead of the main system, blanketing some places with light snow.
As of Thursday morning, more than 20 cm of snow had fallen in places like Saint John, Moncton and Sussex, N.B. There were some record-breakers in Nova Scotia as well. Halifax, Greenwood and Sydney all set new same-day snowfall records on February 2nd. Greenwood had 29 cm in 24 hours, shattering the 1960 record of 19.8 cm.
The storm moved into Newfoundland Thursday morning. Schools in St. John's, including Memorial University, were closed in anticipation of the heavy snow and strong winds that have accompanied this storm on its long march from Texas to the Atlantic Ocean. Public buses were running, but transit officials warned patrons to expect delays. The heaviest snowfall was expected to be on the Avalon Peninsula.
With all this talk of snow, it's safe to say that snow removal crews in Moncton have been busy this winter. Before the 'Groundhog Day Storm' the city had already seen around 215 cm of snow since the first storm of the season. That's almost halfway to the all-time snowfall record of 530 cm set in the winter of 1974-75.
According to officials at Moncton's public works department, crews are getting tired because of long days clearing the snow. There is also a growing concern about exceeding the annual snow removal budget because of the continuous storms.
Local groundhogs were able to give their outlook on the rest of the winter Wednesday, and it's a positive one.
Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam did not see his shadow Wednesday and neither did the newest weather prognosticator, New Brunswick's Oromocto Ollie. According to the folklore surrounding Groundhog Day, that means spring could arrive early this year for storm weary Atlantic Canada.
Keep up to date on your forecast by checking out The Weather Network on TV where the National forecast comes up at the top and bottom of every hour. You can also click our Canadian cities index.
With files from Matt Casey and the Canadian Press.