Winter storm brings snow, rain, wind and cold to the Maritimes
A powerful winter storm has brought heavy rain, wind and snow to the Maritimes, prompting a number of school closures, power outages, and flooding in the region.
Weather warnings were in place for much of the Maritimes Monday, cautioning that the storm could result in slush, pooling water, and precipitation to flash freeze.
Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said the tracking of the system brought a variety of conditions across the Maritimes in terms of precipitation and temperatures.
"New Brunswick was the hardest hit in terms of snow, particularly northern New Brunswick," he said.
Bas-Caraquet, in northeast New Brunswick recorded 41 centimetres of new snow, while parts of Nova Scotia got up to 15 centimetres snow followed by 30 - 60 millimetres of rain.
Many New Brunswick residents awoke to find their vehicles coated in a thick layer of ice, and spent hours chipping away at the ice and snow to free their vehicles.
Heavy snow started falling in New Brunswick Sunday, making for treacherous road conditions across the province. Travel advisories were issued for some roads and highways due to drifting snow, icy patches, and poor visibility.
The hazardous road conditions forced all schools in the province to close for the day, and prompted warnings from police, urging motorists to stay off the roads or adjust driving for the conditions.
UNB delayed opening its Saint John and Fredericton campuses, while NBCC closed several of its campuses Monday.
In Saint John, heavy rains left some streets in areas submerged under ice-clogged waters. Transit services were suspended Monday and tow trucks were being used to move stranded cars before they froze in place.
On Sunday, seven people also had to be evacuated from ground-level apartments in a three-storey apartment building in Saint John due to localized flooding.
"This time of the year the water has nowhere to go and if the drains are clogged, the water rises. That resulted in one apartment building being evacuated and a number of cars being abandoned," said Geoffrey Downey, a spokesman for New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization.
The weather left thousands of New Brunswickers without power Monday. Close to 3,000 customers were without power early Monday morning. That number fell to around 1,400 customers by noon.
Many Canadian figure skaters remained stranded in Saint John after the storm hit on the last day of the national skating championships.
More than half of the flights out of the city's airport were cancelled due to the weather.
The Canadian championships brought between 400 and 500 people - skaters, coaches, officials, and various staff members - to the event. Many were forced to extend their stay as they looked for rescheduled flights.
"We've got limited flights for people to change to, and it's still an unknown as to how many flights are going to get out and when," said Terry Sheahan, the senior director of marketing and events for Skate Canada.
A special weather statement has been issued for the Acadian Peninsula, Bathurst and Chaleur regions, Campbellton and Restigouche County, and the Miramichi area. Environment Canada says coastal communities from Cambellton to Miramichi could see higher-than-normal water levels.
In Nova Scotia, the snow turned to rain Sunday, which led to flooding in some areas. The Barrington Street off-ramp to the MacKay Bridge in Halifax was closed due to flooding, which affected motorists during the Monday morning commute.
Pictures posted to social media showed a flooded drive-in theatre in the Annapolis Valley and flooding at Columbus Field in Antigonish, N.S.
Schools in the South Shore Regional Centre for Education were closed in anticipation of a flash freeze, while two school buses left icy roads in the Great Village area Monday morning.
Jennifer Rogers, a spokesperson for the Chignecto-Central Regional Centre for Education, told BellMedia’s 100.9 radio station that there were no students on either bus went they went off the road.
She said both buses were turning around when they went into the ditch.
No injuries were reported.
Strong winds caused significant damage to the canopy of the Irving gas station on George Street in Sydney. The gas station was closed Monday while crews repaired the canopy, which had been ripped to pieces.
With temperatures expected to plummet overnight, crews in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality were also working to clear catch basins.
The windy weather also caused some power outages in Nova Scotia, with roughly 1,900 customers off the grid at 12:30 p.m.
A special weather statement has been issued for Annapolis, Digby, and Kings counties. Environment Canada says higher-than-normal water levels are expected for the southern Bay of Fundy, from Cape Split west to Digby County.
Meanwhile, a flash-freeze warning has been issued for Antigonish, Inverness, Pictou and Victoria counties.
A flash-freeze warning is also in effect for Kings County on Prince Edward Island, where all schools were closed Monday.
Here’s a look at some of the side streets in downtown Fredericton this morning. The main roads are in better shape...but you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to travel if you’re on the roads today. @CTVAtlantic #NBStorm pic.twitter.com/L4uHbRafpY— Cory McGraw (@McgrawCory) January 21, 2019
Saint Johners chipping through layers of ice and snow today. Snow, freezing rain and rain now freezing solid. Ice picks are far more useful than shovels. pic.twitter.com/FmaRf2ei5l— Mike Cameron (@MikeCameronCTV) January 21, 2019
The St. John River in #Woodstock looking pretty with a blanket of snow — there's lots of it here and more flakes are now falling. Residents here say the #nbstorm wasn't as bad as expected @CTVAtlantic. pic.twitter.com/ydzSG1pBwq— Laura Lyall (@LauraLyallCTV) January 21, 2019
SJ City Plows spreading lots of salt and sand but streets remain slippery, especially side streets. Slush now freezing solid on roads and sidewalks. pic.twitter.com/2WF1oxacGp— Mike Cameron (@MikeCameronCTV) January 21, 2019
Marc Belliveau of NB Power says they were expecting more freezing rain during the storm. He says it was helpful that it was mostly ice pellets that fell following the snowfall, particularly in Fredericton. @CTVAtlantic #NBStorm pic.twitter.com/ntX2kV0Qms— Cory McGraw (@McgrawCory) January 21, 2019