Blizzard, hurricane-force winds headed for Newfoundland

System expected to affect Newfoundland Wednesday afternoon and night

Deana Stokes Sullivan
Published on March 25, 2014

The next winter storm to hit Newfoundland Wednesday night will be driven by hurricane-force winds,  according to AccuWeather, a weather agency based in the United States that also provides Canadian forecasts.

A winter blizzard is expected to swipe eastern New England and slam Atlantic Canada Tuesday night through Wednesday night.

"Winds could be strong enough on Cape Cod, Down East Maine, the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador to down trees and cause power outages," AccuWeather said in a news release issued today. "Gusts could reach hurricane strength in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, as well as in portions of New Brunswick and Newfoundland."

In the Maritimes and western Newfoundland, AccuWeather's Canada weather expert and blogger Brett Anderson said "the storm has the potential to produce snow drifts three times the depth of the average snowfall, close roads and shut down daily activities for a couple of days."

The winds will cause very rough conditions across the northwestern Atlantic Ocean. Seas in open waters from Massachusetts to Newfoundland may reach 40 feet.

"While some folks in Canada are comparing this storm to a nor'easter, known as 'White Juan' from 10 years ago, this storm will be more intense, but is moving faster," Anderson said. "From this storm Wednesday, storm total snow will not be as heavy, but winds will be stronger than the February 2004 storm."

Environment Canada says the low pressure system developing off the southeast coast of the United States will intensify rapidly as it tracks northeastward today and tonight.

Stormy weather to spread throughout Newfoundland Wednesday afternoon and night

It says this low will develop into a very intense storm centre and lie south of Cape Breton Island Wednesday evening. Very strong easterly winds, snow and blowing snow will develop along Newfoundland's south coast Wednesday afternoon and spread throughout the island Wednesday evening. The snow will become mixed with ice pellets or freezing rain along the south coast and southern Avalon Peninsula Wednesday night.

Up to 15 cm of snow is expected on the province's south coast and in western and central Newfoundland, with strong easterly winds gusting up to 130 km/h along parts of the coast, giving zero visibility at times in blowing snow.

In the Wreckhouse area, Environment Canada says strong easterly winds gusting to 120 km/h will develop Wednesday afternoon and up to 180 km/h in the evening.

Snow and blowing snow will develop over the Burin and southern Avalon peninsulas late Wednesday afternoon, becoming mixed with ice pellets or freezing rain later in the evening. Snowfall amounts near 10 centimetres are expected in these regions with very strong easterly winds gusting up to 130 km/h.

The weather office says there will also be higher than normal water levels, combined with high waves late Wednesday afternoon and evening. This may cause some flooding and infrastructure damage along portions of the south coast and southern Avalon Peninsula.