Windy storm whips into eastern Newfoundland
'This is more blow than snow'
High winds lashed eastern Newfoundland and parts of Labrador Saturday, causing public services to shut down and hazardous driving conditions on roads and highways.
The fourth of its kind in eight days, the storm has not delivered much snow, but brought winds that topped 120 km/h per hour.
By midday, the worst of the storm had passed over St. John's and the rest of the Avalon Peninsula, although blizzard warnings remained in effect for the Bonavista Peninsula and some parts of Newfoundland's northeast coast.
"This is more blow than snow," CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon said, who said many communities could expect winds to stick around 80 km/h into Saturday night.
"This is going to be a long and drawn-out event," said Snoddon, adding stormy conditions in some areas would last into Sunday as well.
Authorities warned motorists to take care, especially in exposed areas where winds were whipping up light snow that fell in preceding storms.
"The big story is the visibility," Marshall Hawkins of Environment Canada's weather office in Gander told CBC News early Saturday.
"The visibilities have been drastically reduced, and you don't want to get yourself caught in this."
The storm seemed to feel anticlimactic to some people in eastern Newfoundland, particularly after harsher storms earlier in the week.
"The white ninja storm last week was a lot more powerful than this fake storm," St. John's resident Scott Martin wrote on Twitter, referring to a quick-forming blizzard on Tuesday that stranded dozens of cars on highways in the St. John's area.
The storm, though, was powerful enough to cause numerous community events and services to close or be cancelled. [MORE: Get full details from CBC's Storm Centre.]
Public libraries and recreation facilities were among the casualties of the storm. The weather caused some cancellations at St. John's International Airport. Ferries serving Bell Island in Conception Bay were tied up.
The Avalon Mall in St. John's, the largest shopping centre in Newfoundland and Labrador, delayed its opening on Saturday.
While police warned drivers to take their time navigating roads and highways, CBC reporter Zach Goudie said the weather was also tough for pedestrians and outdoor enthusiasts.
"It’s quite stinging on the face, if you’re unlucky enough to be out in it," Goudie said.
Const. Steve Curnew said while roads in the St. John's area were cleared, drivers should be wary about exposed areas, including the Outer Ring Road.
"If you do have to venture out today in a vehicle, reduce speeds and use extreme caution," he said.
Metrobus, the public transit service in the St. John's area, kept its fleet on the roads but warned passengers to expect delays.
Paul Mackey, the director of public works for the City of St. John's, said crews had been out through the night, and had been able to keep ahead of drifting.
"It's not too bad on the streets this morning," Mackey said in an interview. "Everything is passable, and we don't foresee any problems for the short term."
Mackey added that snowclearing crews can be more efficient when roads are cleared of traffic.