Massive storm cripples Maritimes' roads, air traffic
Published Saturday, November 22, 2008 6:25PM EST
Nova Scotia police warned drivers to stay off treacherous provincial roads as crews worked Saturday to restore power to thousands of homes, after a massive storm blasted the Maritimes with heavy snowfall.
Air traffic was snarled at regional airports and the heavy snow also shut down a major inter-provincial highway for the second time this week as crews struggled to clear the snow.
About 30 centimetres of snow fell in Halifax and parts of Nova Scotia overnight and into Saturday morning, while 20 centimetres piled up in Moncton and surrounding areas.
The heavy snow and high winds left more than 11,000 homes and businesses without power in the early morning hours in parts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Many locals were forced to dig out on Saturday morning as roadways remained clogged.
"I didn't think it would be this bad," Dave Houghcon told CTV Atlantic. "I'll be shoveling for a couple hours trying to get the driveway clean so I can get the cars off the street."
By midday, electricity had been restored to about 6,000 of the 10,000 affected customers in Nova Scotia, according to Margaret Murphy, a spokesperson fro Nova Scotia Power.
"We're making good progress and everybody should be back on by suppertime," Murphy told The Canadian Press.
In New Brunswick, about 1,200 customers, most of them in the Shediac area, are without power, according to NB Power.
The storm shut down most roads in southwestern Nova Scotia, including Highway 104 between Truro, N.S., and the New Brunswick border, which was closed for about 12 hours.
By Saturday afternoon, Highway 104 had reopened, but Nova Scotia's transportation department warned motorists to drive with caution as snow removal was still ongoing.
"The weather was extremely bad. There was high winds and heavy snow," said transportation official Bruce Langille, adding that the snow was extremely heavy because of the high moisture content.
On Wednesday, about 1,500 motorists were stranded for up to 16 hours on the Cobequid Pass, a hilly toll section of Highway 104, during the region's first snowstorm.
Plows were back out Saturday morning after being forced off the roads for several hours overnight due to blowing snow conditions.
Brian Ward, who was driving the highway just before the shutdown, said the road conditions were horrible overnight.
"All I could see was the centre line where a truck had gone, and I followed his track to right there," he said, referring to a deep pile of snow. "I couldn't get any further so I slept here all night with the car running."
Ferry service between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland has also been delayed, while high winds have restricted travel on the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island.
Motorcycles, cars towing trailers, trucks, tractor trailers and buses were all prohibited from crossing the 13-kilometre bridge.
Both major airports in Halifax and Moncton reported numerous cancellations and delays.
"We're just sitting in the snow waiting to go," said Scott Baxter, who was stuck at Halifax's Stanfield International Airport on Saturday. "We were supposed to go at 11:40 and we've been delayed until 2:30 and not sure if we'll get to go then."
Winter storm warnings are still in effect for parts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, while snowfall warnings have been issued for parts of southern Quebec.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh and Kelland Sundahl