Blizzard deteriorates road conditions in Nova Scotia

Much of Nova Scotia remains at a standstill as a blizzard whips across the region, rapidly deteriorating road conditions and cancelling services.

Flights, services classes cancelled, but some residents find ways to make most of it

Much of Nova Scotia remains at a standstill as a blizzard whips across the region, cancelling services and creating hazardous driving 2:58

Much of Nova Scotia remains at a standstill as a blizzard whips across the region, rapidly deteriorating road conditions and cancelling services.

Police said there have been several accidents.

The storm came in two waves. The first dusted the province with five to seven centimetres of snow in the morning, with the worst of the weather conditions hitting between noon and 8 p.m. AT.

CBC meteorologist Kalin Mitchell said the southwest of the province will start seeing improving conditions after 8 p.m. as the storm continues to track eastward. Eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton should see improving conditions around midnight.

Winds remained high in the evening with gusts of more than 60 km/h.

Though difficult to measure the depth of blowing snow, unofficial snowfall amounts around Nova Scotia as of 5 p.m. are as follows:

  • Dartmouth: 17 cm.
  • Cole Harbour: 23.5 cm.
  • Sydney: 23 cm.
  • Lakevale: 20 cm.

Mitchell said by the time the snow stops, Nova Scotia will have received between 20 and 40 centimetres of snow.

Moving into Thursday, cold temperatures and scattered flurries will continue, with lows of -14 for Thursday and Friday.

Whiteout conditions 

Visibility across Nova Scotia got progressively worse as the storm continued through the afternoon.

I'm shovelling snow, getting exercise and getting paid for it.- Donna Skeffington, Nova Scotia resident

Nova Scotia RCMP asked people not to drive, unless absolutely necessary.

A car and a plow collided in Musquodoboit harbour, sending one person to hospital.

Another vehicle ended up in a lake off Waverley Road after the driver lost control. No one was hurt.

All non-essential staff at the Cape Breton District Health Authority were sent home this afternoon as the authority moved to emergency services only. Hospitals did remain open for some scheduled surgeries and specialized procedures.

The Capital District Health Authority in the HRM also cancelled some services and programs due to the weather. 

All public schools and most private schools were cancelled in the province. Flights at Halifax's Stanfield International Airport were grounded and Marine Atlantic cancelled its crossing between North Sydney and southern Newfoundland.

Dozens of offices also closed, including the main malls.

Snowplow crews have been out since midnight in Halifax.

Darrin Natolino, acting superintendent of winter works for the region, said if regional plows became overburdened then contractors would be hired.

“We basically just keep adding on trucks and equipment until we get to the point that we're able to keep up to the storm. In a storm like this, where it'll be sustained throughout the course of a 24-hour period, we also have to be aware of what time we deploy our heavy equipment,” he said.

Natolino said this is just the beginning of what could be a long couple of days for those out plowing the streets.

“Obviously if there's more cars on the road traffic it is slower, the snow's getting packed down and of course since the traffic is slower, so are our snowplows,” he said.

Antigonish is using borrowed equipment after three plows were destroyed by a fire on Monday. The cause of that fire is still under investigation.

Working through the snow

While dozens of offices and businesses closed, for some like Laurie Munroe, it was work as usual.

Despite the frosty weather, Munroe prefers to deliver mail in shorts. He claims he hasn’t worn pants in decades.

Laurie Munroe has be delivering mail in downtown Halifax for years. Claims he hasn't worn pants in decades. (CBC)

“Doesn’t happen. I never put pants on,” he said. “I don’t mind this.”

It's not tax season yet, so Donna Skeffington is making some extra cash clearing the sidewalks.

She’s a tax accountant by trade, but on Tuesday morning, she was found shovelling the sidewalks downtown.

“I'm just waiting for the Revenue Canada doors to open up and meanwhile, I'm shovelling snow, getting exercise and getting paid for it,” she said.

For a list of cancellations click here.


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