Winter storm wallops Maritimes, grounding flights and knocking out power
Published Sunday, December 15, 2013 7:14AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, December 15, 2013 10:07PM EST
A powerful winter storm that walloped Ontario and Quebec on Saturday made its way into the Maritimes on Sunday, grounding flights at airports across the region and knocking out power to thousands of residents.
Winter storm warnings were in effect for much of the day Sunday in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
"It's a large storm that's affecting probably 80 or 90 per cent of the Maritime provinces," Environment Canada meteorologist Jean-Marc Couturier told The Canadian Press on Sunday. "It's a large storm with a lot of punch, a lot of vigour."
Parts of Nova Scotia were expecting as much as 30 centimetres of snow by the end of Sunday. In Halifax, snow that fell early in the day turned into hail by the early afternoon. Later in the day, residents were forced to deal with freezing rain and then rain, making the roads a slushy mess. Most flights at Halifax Stanfield International Airport were cancelled or delayed.
About 6,000 residents in the Halifax area experienced power outages, while many businesses closed their doors early.
Despite the conditions, there were fewer accidents on the roads than police expected.
“Surprisingly, we have very few accidents today,” Sgt Paul Robertson of the Halifax Regional Police told CTV Atlantic. “Normally with weather such as this, you’d expect a lot more, but it appears motorists are excising a degree of caution.”
Halifax had been expecting more rain and freezing rain for Sunday night.
In New Brunswick and P.E.I., residents faced similar conditions as the storm made its way east.
Parts of southern New Brunswick were expected to see as much as 40 cm of snow, while the northern part of the province was expected to see 20 cm.
RCMP in both provinces were asking people to stay off the roads. Many highways were reduced to just one lane as snowplows cleared the roads. Most flights at the Greater Moncton International Airport were cancelled or delayed, with airport officials telling people to call in ahead of time to get the status of their flights.
Power was also knocked out for nearly 2,000 NB Power customers in Sackville, N.B., and St. Stephen, N.B. Ferry crossings between Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and New Brunswick were cancelled.
While the worst of the storm was ending for the Maritimes, Newfoundlanders are still bracing for the winter wallop, expected to continue until Monday night.
The same storm pummelled Ontario and Quebec on Saturday, leaving residents digging themselves out on Sunday.
In the Toronto area on Saturday, police were bombarded with dozens of accident reports, at one point receiving up to as many as 50 calls per hour. Two people near Barrie, Ont. died in a two-vehicle collision, with police saying weather conditions could have been a factor. Another collision just west of Toronto involved more than 20 vehicles.
The storm then hit southern Quebec late Saturday and into Sunday, dumping up to 30 centimetres of snow in some areas.
In the Quebec City area, heavy snow and high winds forced the closure of a key highway. A highway in Montreal's east end was also closed following an accident.
A Transport Quebec spokesperson urged drivers to stay off the roads until Monday if possible.
With reports from CTV Atlantic’s Matt Woodward and Jonathan MacInnis and files from The Canadian Press