HALIFAX – Environment Canada is warning residents of the Maritimes to prepare for power outages as a major winter storm – the fourth this month – is expected to lash the region Saturday with blowing snow, freezing rain and howling winds.
Rain and winter storm warnings have been issued for all of Nova Scotia, where hazardous winter conditions are expected.
Gusts reaching up to 100 kilometres per hour are in the forecast.
As well, the snow is expected to switch to an extended period of freezing rain or ice pellets throughout the day for much of the province. And up to 40 centimetres of snow is expected in western Nova Scotia, while southern areas can expect up to six hours of freezing rain.
Nova Scotia Power confirmed Friday that it would be activating its Emergency Operations Centre on Saturday morning.
“As we continue to monitor the forecasts, we are positioning power line crews and forestry teams across the province so we are ready to respond safely and as quickly as possible,” spokesman Sean Borden said in a statement.
“This will be our fourth winter storm in less than a month, and based on the current forecast, this weather system is expected to impact the entire province.”
In New Brunswick, up to 40 centimetres of snow is expected in the southeastern corner of the province, but winter storm warnings remain in effect for most of the province, except in northern New Brunswick in an area stretching from the Chaleur region west to Edmundston.
Gusts are expected to reach between 70 and 100 km/h.
“Snow and blowing snow will begin over southern New Brunswick on Saturday morning, spreading to northern New Brunswick by Saturday afternoon,” Environment Canada said in its weather warning.
“Gusty northeasterly winds will accompany the snow, with the highest gusts of 90 to 100 km/h along coastal areas. Power and utility outages are likely.”
The federal agency also encouraged residents to consider putting off non-essential travel as visibility will be reduced to near zero at times in heavy, blowing snow.
On Prince Edward Island, between 15 and 40 centimetres of snow is expected and gusts could reach 100 kilometres per hour.
The heaviest snowfall is expected in Prince County. Freezing rain and ice pellets are in the forecast for late Saturday afternoon, but more snow is expected on Sunday morning.