A storm affecting Newfoundland and parts of Labrador today and tonight has prompted Environment Canada to issue blowing snow, blizzard and wind warnings.
St. John’s is expected to get 10 to 15 cm of snow and ice pellets, followed by five to 10 mm of rain. However, some areas of the province are expected to get up to 30 cm of snow.
High winds will accompany the system, with Environment Canada forecasting up to 120 km/h in St. John’s and 140 km/h along parts of the east coast. The highest winds will be in the Wreckhouse area on the west coast, with winds expected to reach 180 km/h.
AccuWeather, a weather agency in the United States, has described these winds as hurricane-forced winds affecting the province tonight.
The culprit is a low pressure system southeast of Cape Cod that’s expected to intensify rapidly as it tracks northeastward today. Environment Canada says this low will develop into a very intense storm center and lie south of Cape Breton Island tonight.
A warm front associated with the system will cross Newfoundland tonight. Very strong easterly winds, snow and blowing snow will develop along the south coast this afternoon ahead of the front and spread throughout the island in the evening. The snow will become mixed with ice pellets or freezing rain as the front passes.
Along the west coast of the island, Environment Canada says potentially damaging winds are expected to gust to 160 km/hour in exposed locations and 180 km/hour in the Wreckhouse area. The eastern side of the Long Range Mountains including the Humber Valley are expected to see the highest snowfall accumulations, up to 30 centimetres in some locations.
The eastern half of the island will see very poor visibility due to heavy snow and very strong winds, 100-140 km/hour, tonight.
In addition, Environment Canada is warning that higher than normal water levels, combined with high waves will coincide with high astronomical tide from late this afternoon into Thursday.
This may cause some flooding and infrastructure damage along portions of the south coast and southern Avalon Peninsula that are exposed to the southeast this evening and to the southwest Thursday.
Marine Atlantic cancels ferry service today and Thursday
Marine Atlantic has cancelled ferry crossings between Port aux Basques and Nova Scotia today and Thursday because of the forecasted high winds and seas.
It says customers reserved for these sailings will now depart at 11:45 a.m. Friday, weather permitting.
Customers are urged to keep checking the travel advisory section of Marine Atlantic's website (www.marine-atlantic.ca) or contact its toll-free number (1-800-341-7981) for up to date information.