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Messy, wintery mix blasts Atlantic Canada


Jill Colton and Andrea Stockton, staff writers

February 25, 2011 — Snow, rain and strong winds. Another fierce winter storm is targeting Atlantic Canada this weekend.

Rainfall projections for Nova Scotia
Rainfall projections for Nova Scotia

Winter once again has its sights set on Atlantic Canada. The intense low that brought snow and gusty winds to Ontario is affecting the east coast as well.

“Like any storm, this one has a warm side to the south and east of the low’s track with the cold side setting up to the north and west,” says Paul Fitzsimmons, a meteorologist here at The Weather Network.

“The expected track will bring the storm northeastward across Nova Scotia with an area of heavy rain setting up along and south of the track through most of Nova Scotia and heavy snow to the north across parts of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick,” he explains.

RAIN

Rainfall warnings were issued for much of Nova Scotia ahead of the storm Friday. Up to 50 mm of rain is possible in some areas through Saturday morning.

“There's also a concern for a flash freeze,” says Rob Davis another meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Wet roads from the rain or melting snow, combined with a significant drop in temperatures are the perfect ingredients for a flash freeze to occur.

“So residents in Halifax will likely wake up to to very slippery roads on Saturday,” notes Davis.

The Avalon Peninsula can also expect as much as 60 mm by the time all is said and done.

More heavy snow piles up in New Brunswick
More heavy snow piles up in New Brunswick

SNOW

The snow began to pick up in parts of New Brunswick throughout the afternoon on Friday.

“Fredericton had already seen close to 10 cm of snow by the evening commute,” says Davis. And by 8 p.m., local time, the city had already recorded around 40 cm of snow, 12 of which fell in only one hour.

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 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.”

Conditions on the roads have also deteriorated significantly.

“The roads are snow packed, they're slippery. In open areas, visibility is reduced drastically,” says Steeves. “Absolutely best option is to just stay home.”

Heavy snow has been relentless in the city of Moncton this winter and several residents are running out of room to stack it.

“All I can say is, oh my God not another one...It's not the look of the snow, it's the shovelling,” said one winter weary resident. “I'm probably going to have to clean the snow off my roof again, this will be the third time,” says Monctonian Frank Holland.

Officials recommend clearing your roof to avoid a collapse, but you should know the risks and safety concerns involved first.

The storm will continue to track into Newfoundland through Saturday with 40 cm possible for the northern peninsula.

WIND

“The storm is also helping to usher in very powerful wind gusts, picking up with the precipitation,” explains Davis. He notes that behind the system the winds will be packing a punch. Strong gusts up to 90 km/h are possible at times for all three Maritime provinces.

Newfoundland and Labrador will be blustery as well. “Gusts could reach hurricane force strength on Saturday,” warns Davis.

The combination of the snow and wind will give way to blizzard-like weather. Near zero visibilities will make driving treacherous, and motorists are urged to check highway conditions before travelling.

To stay up-to-date on current weather conditions in your area, be sure to check your local forecast. You can also tune in to The Weather Network on TV, and sign up to get the latest weather watches and warnings sent to your cell phone.

With files from Lyndsay Morrison

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