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Maritimers clean up from major snowfall

Jill Colton, staff writer

February 26, 2011 — A major clean up is underway across the Maritimes for the heavy snow and rain that walloped the region on Friday.

Snow piles up in Moncton, NB
Snow piles up in Moncton, NB

An intense low pressure system that dumped snow over Ontario and Quebec also packed a punch for the Maritimes.

The storm was a messy mix of rain, snow and powerful winds. The track muscled northeastward across Nova Scotia dumping sheets of rain over the region. It also charged through the northern parts of P.E.I. and New Brunswick dropping heavy amounts of snow.

RAIN

“The warm side of the storm helped produce the rain throughout Nova Scotia and the southern shores of New Brunswick and P.E.I.,” explains Rob Davis a meteorologist here at The Weather Network.

Here is a list of the various totals recorded as of 5 a.m. Saturday morning. Halifax Stanfield Airport (44 mm), Greenwood (42 mm), Yarmouth (36 mm), Charlottetown (30 mm).

In addition to the rain, a flash freeze warning was also implemented. A cold front moved through Friday night which plunged temperatures, says Davis. “For example, Halifax went from 6°C to -2°C fairly quickly.” The rapid decline in temperature caused the water on the roads to freeze over, resulting in icy patches. Numerous accidents were reported.

SNOW

The cold side of the storm led to the burst of snow through most of New Brunswick and P.E.I.

As of 8 p.m. local time Friday evening, Gagetown had already recorded around 40 cm of snow, 12 of which fell in only one hour.

As Saturday morning, snowfall accumulations were substantial. Gagetown saw 49 cm pile up the already snow-covered Moncton measured another 24 cm.

Some transit services were cancelled and several schools and businesses, including a local mall, shut their doors early to take the necessary precautions for the severe weather.

The pressure of the heavy wet snow also led to a roof collapse in P.E.I. Thankfully, no one was injured when the building caved. If you're planning on clearing the snow from your rooftop, make sure you aware of the risks involved.

The Weather Network's Maritime reporter Shelley Steeves was caught in the thick of the storm in Moncton Friday night and said, “The snow is beating against my face like needles.”

WIND

“The storm also helped to usher in very powerful wind gusts,” notes Davis. Brier Island recorded a 102 km/h gust, and Halifax Stanfield Airport was smacked with peak gusts of 93 km/h.

The ferocious winds lifted the snow in many areas, resulting in near zero-visibility on the roads.

Police reported treacherous driving conditions. There were numerous cancellations at the airports in Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton.

Major drifts.
Major drifts.

After the storm pushed off to Newfoundland, the clean up was underway all across the Maritimes.

In an interview from Moncton on Saturday, Shelley Steeves said that the sun was out and the sky was blue. “Things are considerably calmer in the Maritimes Saturday morning.”

Still, conditions were hardly ideal. “The winds are still quite strong behind the system,” warned Davis.

The blustery conditions also helped to creat heavy drifts and kick up snow on the roads. Steeves advised anyone travelling to check highway conditions first.

To stay up-to-date on current weather conditions in your area, be sure to check your local forecast.

With files from Andrea Stockton

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