Powerful winds, blowing snow make for treacherous morning commute in N.L.
TORONTO -- It will be a difficult morning commute for those in Newfoundland and Labrador with numerous school closures, bus cancellations, and road closures due to a wicked winter storm making its way across the province.
Environment Canada has issued blowing snow advisories for the central and Avalon regions of the island part of the province with the western portion under wind and winter storm warnings.
The weather agency warned that 10 to 15 cm of snow is expected in the St. John’s area with some areas of the province receiving even more Friday morning and into the evening. To accompany the snow, wind gusts of 60 to 80 km/h are possible with even stronger gusts of 110 to 130 km/h along parts of the west coast.
“Fresh snowfall will combine with strong easterly winds to produce poor visibility in blowing snow, especially during the morning commute,” the advisory read. “Travel is expected to be hazardous due to reduced visibility in some locations. Visibility may be significantly and suddenly reduced to near zero.”
According to the weather agency’s website, blowing snow advisories are issued when winds are expected to create blowing snow giving poor visibility to 800 metres or less for at least three hours.
The storm is already wreaking havoc on some roads with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary reporting that poor visibility and blowing snow is making for unsafe driving conditions Friday morning.
The provincial police service said the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) was closed westbound, beginning at the Irving in St. John’s because of the wintry weather.
The province’s transportation department noted that many sections of the TCH were snow-covered with drifting snow and slushy patches early Friday morning.
The section of the TCH to Witless Bay Line was noted on the department’s list of road conditions as particularly dangerous with icy patches, slushy patches, drifting snow, and poor visibility.
One motorist shared a video of the blustery snow outside her vehicle on the TCH near Witless Bay Line with the warning: “Stay off the TCH if possible!!”
Another driver, Amanda Parrell, posted on Twitter that she witnessed whiteout conditions and many vehicles stopped on the westbound TCH near Witless Bay Line.
“PLEASE DRIVE SLOW GIVE YOURSELF DISTANCE. It’s a whiteout and cars are stopped. People are coming up behind us slamming on brakes and sliding,” she tweeted on Friday morning.
Parrell also said she saw a car stuck in a drift on the westbound TCH during her morning drive.
“The TCH is CHAOS everywhere from when I got on in Holyrood until St. John’s, cars stuck everywhere, accidents everywhere. If you absolutely have to travel please be careful,” she warned.
To reduce the number of vehicles on the roads, many schools across Newfoundland and Labrador were closed or opening later in the.
At St. John’s International Airport, a number of flights were delayed from departing or cancelled Friday morning.