A large, slow-moving storm has battered Atlantic Canada, forcing the closure of schools and government offices as parts of Nova Scotia brace for a long spell of freezing rain.
Environment Canada has warned that widespread power outages are likely, and Nova Scotia Power has activated its emergency operations center to deal with the fifth major winter storm to hit the province in the past four weeks.
“So far this year, we have seen a significant number of severe weather systems affect Nova Scotia,” Nova Scotia Power spokesman Sean Borden said in a statement late Thursday.
“We are positioning power line crews, forestry crews and other crews across the province, so we are ready to respond safely as quickly as possible for our customers.”
Borden said utility customers should assemble an emergency kit with flashlights, a battery-powered radio and fresh water.
“Ice storms can lead to prolonged outages if temperatures remain low, as it takes time to clear ice from lines and equipment,” the utility said. “The impact can also be felt as the ice melts and trees straighten under the weight of the ice.”
Messy mix to last through the weekend
Transit services were suspended in Moncton, New Brunswick, and city buses were to be taken off the roads in Halifax by 11 a.m. local time.
Meanwhile, the rest of the region can expect to be bombarded with a mix of heavy snow, sleet and rain well into the weekend.
Snow and winter storm warnings have been issued for all of New Brunswick, where up to 55 centimeters of snow is forecast for the southern half of the province – and Prince Edward Island has been warned that up to 45 centimeters of snow are on the way.
Between 30 and 40 centimeters of snow could blanket northern Nova Scotia and western Cape Breton by Saturday morning, while rain and freezing rain warnings remain in effect for the rest of the province, with up to 100 millimeters of rain possible in parts of southern Nova Scotia.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, up to 70 cm of snow could fall on the central and northeast of the island, and eastern communities can expect an extended period of rain and Freezing Rain.