HALIFAX – A large, slow-moving storm has descended on Atlantic Canada, forcing the closure of schools and government offices, as parts of Nova Scotia brace for an extended period of freezing rain.
Environment Canada has warned that widespread power outages are likely, and Nova Scotia Power has activated its emergency operations centre to deal with the fifth major winter storm to hit the province in the past four weeks.
Between 30 and 40 centimetres of snow could blanket northern Nova Scotia and western Cape Breton by Saturday morning, while rain and freezing rain warnings are in effect for the rest of the province, with up to 100 millimetres of rain possible in parts of the south.
“So far this year, we have seen a significant number of severe weather systems impact Nova Scotia,” Nova Scotia Power spokesman Sean Borden said in a statement Thursday night.
“We are positioning power line crews, forestry and other teams across the province so we are ready to safely respond as quickly as possible for our customers.”
Borden said the utility’s customers should assemble emergency kits with flashlights, battery-powered radios and fresh water.
“Ice storms can lead to prolonged outages if temperatures stay low, as it takes time to get ice off the lines and equipment,” the utility said. “The impact can also be felt as the ice melts and trees spring back up from the weight of the ice.”
In preparation for the storm, the Irving Shipbuilding facility in Halifax cancelled its night shift. Canadian Forces Base Halifax has also closed, according to a social media post, and so has the Royal Canadian Air Force base in Shearwater, N.S.
Meanwhile, the rest of the region can expect to get pelted with a mix of heavy snow, ice pellets and rain well into the weekend.
Snowfall and winter storm warnings have been issued for all of New Brunswick, where up to 55 centimetres of snow is in the forecast for the southern half of the province. Transit services were suspended in Moncton, N.B.
P.E.I. has been warned that up to 45 centimetres of snow is on the way.
Up to 70 cm of snow could fall over central and northeastern parts of Newfoundland, while eastern communities in the province can expect a prolonged period of rain and freezing rain.
Officials in St. John’s said in a statement Friday morning city crews were repairing infrastructure damage, including roads and trails, and public works teams were preparing sandbags and road barricades.