January 04, 2014 - 4:29 PM
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Much of Atlantic Canada spent Saturday cleaning up after a powerful blizzard while some hard-hit communities in Newfoundland grappled with power outages, cancelled flights and dangerous driving conditions brought on by the storm.
The weather system whipped through the Maritimes Friday before passing southeast of Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula overnight.
Environment Canada meteorologist David Neil said although the blizzard had moved offshore by Saturday morning, high winds were lingering in eastern Newfoundland.
He said winds of 100 kilometres per hour were causing blowing snow in some areas.
“It’s caused some poor driving conditions and the winds have caused some issues with power outages,” Neil said from Gander, N.L, adding that about 38 centimetres of snow was recorded at the St. John’s International Airport.
RCMP in western Newfoundland were asking people only to venture onto the roads in emergencies. Numerous flights out of the St. John’s airport were cancelled and delayed.
Newfoundland Power was reporting multiple outages across the province by Saturday afternoon, including in the St. John’s area. Some community centres and waste management facilities in the province’s capital closed Saturday because of the severe weather.
Newfoundland had already been grappling with rolling blackouts implemented Thursday evening by the utility as it tried to cope with increased demand because of bitterly cold temperatures.
Meanwhile, forecasters said a frigid Arctic air mass would persist over northwestern portions of Newfoundland, where cold temperatures and strong winds were expected to produce wind chill values reaching -35 C.
The storm had also dealt a blow to the Maritimes Friday, forcing the cancellation of flights, interrupting public transit and closing roads, government offices, universities and businesses.
The storm hit particularly hard in Nova Scotia, where retail outlets including liquor stores in Halifax, the Annapolis Valley and the South Shore were closed early. Bus service in Halifax was also suspended for the day.
Meanwhile, the storm has been blamed for at least 16 deaths in the northeastern United States. The heaviest snow fell north of Boston, where almost 60 centimetres had piled up by the time the storm moved out on Friday.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2014