Another storm closes schools, hampers travel in snow-choked East Coast


Published on February 16, 2017

HALIFAX — Much of Atlantic Canada was slogging through yet another bout of nasty winter weather Thursday that closed schools and government offices again, even as people continued digging out from an unrelenting series of storms.

With snowbanks growing ever higher, Environment Canada issued a new set of weather warnings throughout the region as the system churned through the Gulf of St. Lawrence — bringing snow, wind, freezing rain or a messy mix of all of that.

"This is just a second little taste of winter, but it's not the same kind of magnitude as the first one," meteorologist Tracey Talbot said from Dartmouth, which was being pelted by freezing rain after about 15 cm of snow had fallen early Thursday.

"The snowfall amounts are significantly less than what we had earlier in the week and the windspeeds are nowhere near what we had the other day."

Much of New Brunswick was under a winter storm warning and forecast to get winds gusting to 80 km/h along with 15 to 30 cm of snow, leading to the cancellation of transit services in Saint John. Schools were also closed for the day.

The agency was forecasting wind gusts of up to 70 km/h, along with 25 cm of snow in Prince Edward Island, prompting RCMP to urge drivers to be careful on roads that were beset by whiteout conditions.

Newfoundland and Labrador was also being slammed by this latest system that was forecast to bring a mix of freezing rain and blowing snow to the east, while Labrador was facing up to 35 cm of snow. Talbot said the system was forecast to move into Labrador later Thursday, and remained under a blizzard warning in areas around Nain and Hopedale. They were expected to get up to 35 cm of snow, with reduced visibility and high winds.

Talbot said the highest snowfall could be in the Annapolis Valley and southeastern New Brunswick. Greenwood, N.S., reported 28 cm Thursday morning.

This latest storm again hampered travel throughout the region.

The Halifax Stanfield International Airport cancelled and delayed several flights after reporting an additional 28 cm of snow early Thursday, while the Charlottetown airport also posted some cancellations.

Canada Post halted mail delivery in southern New Brunswick due to the weather, saying on Twitter it was not safe to send carriers to deliver mail. Canada Post has also halted all mail delivery in Prince Edward Island, and say the weather is impeding mail delivery in and around St. John's, N.L.

Talbot said people should get a bit of a weather reprieve once this system clears out sometime Saturday.

"It looks like we're in a little bit of a lull for a bit," she said with a laugh. "So I think many people will be happy with that — it will give us some time to clean up a bit."

Vast areas of the Maritimes were snowed under Monday from a blizzard that dumped almost 80 cm of snow in central New Brunswick — and 60 cm in parts of Nova Scotia — before it moved over to Newfoundland. Powerful gusts that reached 120 kilometres per hour along the coast near Halifax created huge drifts throughout the port city. Charlottetown saw about 40 cm fall at the local airport.

The storm persisted Tuesday and into Wednesday in Newfoundland, closing schools and bringing transportation and many public services to a standstill on the Avalon as high winds whipped around the snow, reducing visibility to nil in some areas.

Alison Auld, The Canadian Press