Maritimes getting battered with heavy snowfall, high winds
A slow-moving storm is battering the Maritimes with snow and high winds, causing major travel disruptions.
In Nova Scotia, most of the province will be getting 20 to 30 centimetres of snow, with Cumberland County and the Minas Shore expected to get walloped with 35 to 45 centimetres of snow.
The province’s transportation department says blowing snow is causing poor visibility on the roads.
The snow is expected to turn to rain beginning at noon for parts of Nova Scotia along the Atlantic coast. Up to 25 millimetres of rain is expected and there could be some localized flooding as a result.
In New Brunswick, snow is expected across the province, with between 20 and 40 centimetres for Saint John, and 10 centimetres for northern New Brunswick.
Some New Brunswick municipalities on Sunday announced city facilities and schools would be closed on Monday.
P.E.I. could get between 30 and 40 centimetres of snow.
High winds reaching up to 120 km/h are also expected for the region.
RCMP say the Trans-Canada Highway between Moncton and Amherst, N.S., is closed due to blowing snow. As well, Highway 15, which runs from Moncton to Shediac, is closed. Highway 16 is also closed.That highway runs from Aulac to Cape Tormentine.
The arrivals and departures boards at airports across the region are filling up with cancellations.
At Halifax Stanfield International Airport, at least 35 flights have been cancelled. At Greater Moncton International Airport, most of the arriving flights are cancelled, with the first non-cancelled flight expected to get in at 11:34 p.m. Sunday.
"We do expect it will be a very quiet day right through into the evening. It's difficult to tell at this point when the recovery might start. It could be into tomorrow morning," said Halifax airport spokesman Peter Spurway.
It's a similar situation at the Charlottetown Airport, where incoming and departing flights for Sunday are all cancelled.
On the ground, Moncton has cancelled the city’s bus service for the day. In Halifax, transit service is suspended for the day. Maritime Bus is warning of delays and possible cancellations.
Bay Ferries has cancelled all of the day’s crossings between Digby, N.S., and Saint John. Marine Atlantic has done the same for the crossing between North Sydney, N.S., and Port aux Basques, Nfld.
The Confederation Bridge closed the bridge to all traffic, at about 4:50 p.m.
In Nova Scotia, about 2,100 customers are without power because of the storm. The affected customers are in Cheticamp, Digby, Kentville and Wolfville, Amherest and North Shore, and the Parrsboro, Springhill and Noel Shore areas.
In New Brunswick, about 1,600 NB Power customers are without power in the St. Stephen, Miramichi, Moncton, Bouctouche, Sackville and Shediac areas.
In East Saint John, about 700 customers are without power, says Saint John Energy.
In P.E.I., Maritime Electric is not currently reporting any outages.
There are a number of major road closures in Nova Scotia due to the weather conditions. These include:
Highway 101 being closed between Windsor and Greenwich, exits 6 to 11
Highway 104 is closed from Truro to the New Brunswick border
On Highway 102 at Exit 14, traffic is being diverted to prevent drivers from accessing Highway 104
In Saint John, police are asking people to stay off the roads and stay home. Police say they have dealt with 15 to 20 vehicles that have become stuck, as well as some collisions. In some cases, there are snowbanks 1 to 1.2 metres high in the middle of the road that can't be seen because of the poor visibility.
In New Annan, P.E.I., RCMP say a tractor-trailer on Route 2 has left the road and is on its side. The tractor-trailer will be left there until the storm is over. There are no injuries.
The snow and winds are making it difficult for plow operators across the region. Queen's County plow dispatcher Jack Devine began his shift at 7 a.m. and says the snow has definitely picked up since then.
"We do still have our plows out though, but we're going to be playing it by ear to see what happens with the wind," he said.
In Summerside, plows were taken off the roads at noon.
In Queens County, N.S., the transportation department has taken all ploughs off the roads until further notice.
In Saint John, the city pulled its plows off the road, but is stationing some at points around the city in case of emergencies.