RCMP are advising people on P.E.I. to stay off all roads as the Island struggles through the third day of an early spring storm.
Plows have been pulled off secondary roads in Prince County, P.E.I., and contractors in Queens County are being told to use their own discretion on plowing secondary roads.
Conditions are too dangerous for plows to be on secondary roads in Prince County, officials said. RCMP are telling motorists to stay off the roads and travel only in emergency situations. They said Winsloe Road and Horne Cross roads are impassable.
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P.E.I. is into the third day of a slow-moving storm. The storm has been through several phases, with snow on Sunday that turned to heavy rain overnight. By early Monday morning it was freezing rain in western P.E.I., and that spread eastward across the province. Overnight Monday conditions changed to snow.
The snow is thick, heavy, and very difficult to drive through. With winds blowing at 50 km/h gusting to 70, visibility is poor. The weather forced the cancellation of schools for the fifth day in a row.
The freezing rain has caused big trouble for Maritime Electric, bringing down power lines and poles.
As of 3 p.m. about 2,200 customers had no electricity, mostly in western P.E.I. On Lennox Island, the Native band council and local fire department have set a warming centre. At least three adults and 10 children stayed there overnight.
At one point on Monday 15,000 customers were without power. Most of them had that restored by 11 p.m. Company spokeswoman Kim Griffin told CBC News Tuesday morning the weather is making work difficult for repair crews.
"The conditions are really, really tough out there. Visibility is nil in some areas, so I think we could be in for some more challenges in terms of accessing our customers today," said Griffin.
"We'll certainly do our best to get the crews out and on location to get our customers back on."
Early morning flights out of Charlottetown Airport were cancelled. At midday, the website was showing delays on some flights but no cancellations. Confederation Bridge is open to all traffic, but bridge officials are advising it could close to high-sided vehicles if winds increase.
This is the 12th day in this school year that schools have been closed due to storms. Last week the biggest storm of the season shut down schools Wednesday through Friday. Islanders had a brief respite with sunshine and temperatures above freezing on Saturday before the current slow-moving storm rolled into the province Sunday.
With parent-teacher interviews on March 7, a storm on March 13, March break, and storms closing schools for the last three weekdays of the month, students attended school for only 10 days in March.