Blowing snow conditions expected to worsen

The western part of P.E.I. is seeing the worst of a storm that struck the province overnight.
The snow is still falling heavily in Tignish Shore. The western part of P.E.I. is getting the worst of this winter storm. (Submitted by Jenna McInnis)

The western part of P.E.I. is seeing the worst of a storm that struck the province overnight.

Snow, freezing rain, and then rain left a mess on Charlottetown streets Thursday morning. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

Transportation officials have pulled plows off secondary roads in West Prince. Dispatchers there say it is still snowing in that part of the province and winds have picked up.

"It's drifting, blowing snow, poor visibility. The main roads like route one and two aren't too bad.  The secondary roads, there are a lot of white out conditions and filling in fast behind the plows," said Mike Berrigan, maintenance superintendent for Prince County.

"We have removed the plows from the secondary roads … and we will continue to hold off on plowing the secondary roads until the conditions improve."

Environment Canada is forecasting continued blowing snow and two to four more centimetres. 

In Charlottetown the snow had turned to rain by 9 a.m., and for the remainder of the morning conditions cleared. Snow began again in the early afternoon, however, and is expected to continue through to midnight. Temperatures have dropped, with a low of -9C expected during the day. 

School board officials made the decision to close schools for the day at about 6 a.m., as freezing rain was coming down heavily in Charlottetown.

Holland College closed its campuses across the Island, and UPEI is also closed for the day. Provincial civil services in Prince County, including liquor stores, are closed. Some flights out of Charlottetown Airport were also cancelled. Afternoon flights are expected to go, but there are some delays.

Freezing rain was coating Charlottetown when school boards made the decision to shut down across P.E.I. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

The Island has seen more than its share of snow this winter: 317.6 cm before this current storm. Average snowfall in Charlottetown for the entire year is under 300.

The last significant snowfall in Charlottetown was Feb. 20. Nineteen centimetres fell that day, but it ended a streak where it had snowed seven days out of eight.