Winter storm conditions strike much of Newfoundland

The effects of a winter storm are still being felt across much of the island on Saturday, causing power outages and poor road conditions.
The effects of a winter storm are being felt across the island Saturday. (Paul Daly/Canadian Press)

A winter storm hampered much of Newfoundland Saturday, causing power outages and dangerous driving conditions. 

Todd Bate, meteorologist with the Environment Canada Gander weather office, said there is a blizzard warning in effect for much of central and western Newfoundland, a winter storm warning for Connaigre, Clarenville and the Bonavista Peninsula, a wind warning for the Avalon Peninsula, and a blowing snow advisory for the Northern Peninsula. 

Bate said conditions will clear by mid-morning in some areas, but will persist over northern and eastern parts of the island in to the late afternoon, with winds remaining high into the afternoon on the Avalon Peninsula.

"The blizzard's probably going to wind down over the southwest coast, western Newfoundland and Deer Lake fairly shortly," he said. 

"It's going to persist on the northeast coast possibly in to the afternoon, it's going to be pretty blustery."

Power outages 

The severe weather knocked out power in Catalina and on Roache's Line. Crews are investigating the problem in Catalina, and power is expected to be restored in the Roache's Line area by early afternoon Saturday.

A number of residents in central Newfoundland also lost power early Saturday morning as a result of the weather conditions.

Michele Coughlan, public affairs manager with Newfoundland Power, said about 750 customers lost electricity in the Botwood area around 6 a.m. on Saturday. Around 100 people in the Benton area also lost power early Saturday.

Power was restored in Botwood and Benton by mid-morning on Saturday, but Coughlan said the weather conditions have been challenging. 

"Conditions are not very good this morning, and the storm hit yesterday around mid-afternoon, so we have experienced everything from rain to freezing rain, to ice pellets to snow, to very high winds," she said.

"Crews say its quite messy getting out and around in particular, but they are prepared to restore power as quickly and safely as we can get there."

Coughlan said some people in the St. John's and Grand Falls-Windsor areas were also affected by outages in the evening and overnight hours, but power has since been restored. 

Stay off the roads

Road conditions across parts of the island have also been affected by the storm.

Deer Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. Pat Dornan said there was some heavy drifting on the west coast overnight, resulting in deep snow drifts covering access roads and on-ramps. Dornan said there is good visibility in the area, but advises motorists to stay off the roads. 

"I would say to stay off the road unless they necessarily have to get out there. Many of the neighbourhoods are very impassable right now, the snow clearing equipment hasn't had the opportunity to get there, so you will be facing up to three foot drifts in the residential areas," he said.

Dornan said he expect conditions to remain the same with more snow on the way.

Heavy drifting has also been reported in parts of central Newfoundland, with whiteout conditions in some areas. 

The MV Flanders is operating on the Bell Island-Portugal Cove ferry run, however Marine Atlantic's morning crossings between Channel-Port aux Basques and North Sydney have been postponed, weather permitting, until 11:45 p.m. Saturday.

A number of flights have either been cancelled or delayed at St. John's, Gander and Deer Lake airports.