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Fierce winter storm descends on Central Eastern Canada, bringing snow and wind


Much of Eastern and Central Canada is being battered by a fierce winter storm that's bringing icy cold winds and could dump as much as 50 centimetres of snow in some regions.

In the Maritimes, New Brunswick is bracing for the brunt of it, with 30 to 50 centimetres of snow expected today for northern parts of the province, and 15 to 30 centimetres expected in the southern parts.

Environment Canada says the snow will change over to ice pellets and freezing rain this afternoon or evening, then to rain tonight over southern and central parts of the province.

The forecaster says strong winds, gusting up to 90 km/h in some areas, will also reduce visibility.

Geoffrey Downey, the province's spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said New Brunswick Power crews are positioned strategically throughout the province to deal with any potential power outages, and some municipalities have opened emergency operation centres.

"Everyone's taking this very seriously," he said.

Downey said anyone in a region with forecasted rainfall should check their drains outside to ensure they're clear, and advised everyone to stay off the roads unless it's an emergency.

"You're only going to get in the way of emergency responsers, plow operators, and potentially become someone who needs to be saved as well," he said.

Bay Ferries has cancelled sailings between Saint John, N.B., and Digby, N.S.

The storm is also bringing a rare combination of heavy snow, high winds and extreme cold to many parts of Quebec and southern Ontario.

An intense depression south of the St. Lawrence river could bring 15 to 25 centimetres of snow to the Montreal and Quebec City region, while Quebec's Estrie and Beauce regions could receive 30 centimetres and Gaspesie could see as many as 50. 

Environment Canada has also issued a dual winter storm and extreme cold warning for Ottawa, which could see an addition 5 to 15 centimetres of snow along with wind chill values near -35 to -40.

Nova Scotia will see five to 15 centimetres of snow today followed by 30 to 60 millimetres of rain over much of the province's mainland, coupled with strong winds gusting up to 100 km/h this afternoon and tonight. 

Prince Edward Island is expecting up to 20 centimetres of snow in some areas before it changes to ice pellets and freezing rain this evening, along with strong winds gusting up to 90 km/h.

Environment Canada is warning that road conditions may be treacherous in all the storm-affected areas due to ice, snow and reduced visibility.

And rainfall, wind, blowing snow and extreme cold warnings have been issued throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, with strong winds gusting between 100 km/h and 150 km/h along the island's western and southern coasts, whipping up snow and reducing visibility.

Environment Canada says heavy rain is also expected over parts of Newfoundland overnight Sunday or Monday morning, with the south coast expecting the worst of it at 50 to 80 millimetres.

The storm has caused some flight cancellations at airports across the affected regions, including Montreal and Quebec City.

In Montreal, the storm has also caused the cancellation of a festival dedicated to... snow.

The City announced yesterday that it's suspending the Fete des Neiges due to the snowy, windy and cold weather as well as the dangerous conditions on the province's roads.

 

The Canadian Press

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