Andrea Stockton and Jill Colton, staff writers
January 22, 2011 — Poor road conditions during a Nor'easter may have contributed to three deadly crashes in the Maritimes. Another Nor'easter is on the way to Atlantic Canada, and Newfoundland is the target.
The Weather Network's Atlantic Canada reporter, Shelley Steeves, was in the thick of the storm on Friday and said the snow and strong winds in Moncton, New Brunswick began to pick up in time for the evening rush hour commute.
“This one came in fast and furious. The snow started in the Moncton area in the late afternoon and it picked up quickly and at one point for the commute home we were looking at whiteout conditions,” says Steeves.
The Department of Transportation reported slippery and snow-covered highways across most of the province.
Two deadly accidents happened in New Brunswick during the storm. A driver was killed late on Friday in Tracadie-Sheila when his car and a truck collided. Not far away, near Saint-Isidore, N.B., a snowmobiler died early on Saturday in a collision with a truck.
The Nor'easter was also a deadly time on the road in P.E.I. The treacherous roads were said to be a factor in a highway crash that killed a man. RCMP say he was a passenger in a two-vehicle collision. The Mounties say the vehicle lost control on the slippery highway and skidded into oncoming traffic.
Visibility was reduced on the Trans-Canada Highway near Fredericton due to blowing and drifting snow. Motorists were warned to 'proceed with caution' on Highway 1 outside of Saint John.
Saint John police responded to several accidents because of the snow and ice. “The road conditions are absolutely horrendous. They are snow-packed, slippery and visibility is very poor. Despite the winter tires on the emergency vehicles, we're still having an extremely difficult time getting around,” said Sgt. Stephen Wilson on Friday.
As of Saturday morning, 25 cm had fallen across Gagetown, while Bathurst, N.B. had seen 21 cm. In Nova Scotia, 13 cm had blanketed Greenwood. The snow tapered off but the winds powered up. According to Environment Canada, strong westerly winds with gusts up to 90 km/h were expected to affect all three Maritime provinces. Blowing snow was possible.
As for Newfoundland, the effects of the storm began overnight Friday. Blowing snow with near zero visibility is expected throughout the weekend for parts of the province. Wind gusts of up to 100 km/h were forecast on Saturday with warnings in place for several communities. Snow squalls had the potential to produce snowfall accumulations of up to 15 cm with limited visibility along the west coast.
That's not all. Yet another Nor'Easter is coming as the weekend ends. “This one will skirt around Nova Scotia and impact Newfoundland directly,” says Mark Robinson, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. Up to 25 cm of snow may fall in central Newfoundland. Other areas could see heavy rain and strong winds.
For the latest storm details, you can sign up to receive weather reports, watches and warnings to your cell phone. We recommend keeping up to date on your local forecast, and tuning in to The Weather Network on TV. Our National Forecast comes up at the top and bottom of every hour.
With files from Lisa Varano