Storm paralyzes Maritimes
Slow moving system closes schools, businesses, offices
Parts of Atlantic Canada remained under a blizzard warning Tuesday after a massive storm descended on the region, dumping a thick blanket of snow and unleashing howling winds before marching off to Newfoundland.
Environment Canada issued the warnings for Cape Breton and the east and south coasts of Newfoundland as the slowmoving storm continued its blustery trek east.
In eastern Newfoundland, the English School District closed schools in the St. John’s region, which was forecast to get up to 60 centimetres of snow by this afternoon. Other areas of the Avalon peninsula were expected to get about 40 cm of snow.
Transportation and many public services were at a standstill on the Avalon as high winds whipped around the snow, reducing visibility to nil in some areas.
“All you see is white outside,’’ said Christina Hope, manager of the Tim Hortons on Torbay Road in St, John’s. She said the fast-food outlet would be closing early despite a steady flow of snow-covered coffee seekers.
“You can sort of see across the street, but not very well.’’
The winds over eastern Newfoundland were expected to pick up through the day, gusting to 80 and 100 km/h overnight and continuing into today.
In Prince Edward Island, Canada Post said it wasn’t safe to deliver mail Tuesday. Mail service was also cancelled in eastern Newfoundland.
Meanwhile, schools and government offices were closed for a second day throughout Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and New Brunswick, while air travel was again stalled by cancellations and delays. Dozens of arrivals and departures at Halifax Stanfield International Airport were either cancelled or delayed.
Halifax resident Jody Clarke was among several neighbours on his street either wielding a shovel or pushing a snowblower.
“We’re used to storms that hit with four or five hours of intense snow,’’ said Clarke, his hood pull over his red tuque with a Canadian flag on the front.
“(But) this was 24 hours straight of blizzard-like conditions. You couldn’t move. The city was in lockdown. That’s the way it should have been. And we’re just digging out now ... We got about 60 centimetres, but when you’re shovelling, it feels like 100 centimetres.’’
Vast areas of the Maritimes were snowed under Monday. The slow-moving blizzard — dubbed the “Beast of the East’’ by one forecaster — dumped almost 80 cm of snow at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in central New Brunswick. Powerful gusts that reached 120 kilometres per hour along the coast near Halifax created huge drifts throughout the port city.
Environment Canada meteorologist Linda Libby said the storm was significant because of the wide swath of terrain it covered, along with the heavy snowfall.
Boys dig a car out of the snow in Halifax on Tuesday following a major winter storm that hit the Maritimes.