Gaspé braces for winter's next blast — a messy mix of winds, waves, snow

Quebec's Gaspé region is about to be pummelled by blowing snow, violent winds of up to 100 km/h and pounding waves as a major storm moves in.

Environment Canada issues storm surge warning for Gaspé, Magdalen Islands as winter storm intensifies

The Gaspé region and the Magdalen Islands are preparing for wintry weather conditions. (Isabelle Larose/Radio-Canada)

Quebec's Gaspé region is about to be pummelled by blowing snow, violent winds and pounding waves as a major storm moves in. 

That powerful winter storm is expected to bring up to 50 centimetres of snow to some parts of the Gaspé by late Thursday night. Winds of up to 100 km/h are also in the forecast.

Environment Canada has issued a storm surge warning for Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands, where coastal flooding is possible along the shoreline.

The weather agency is asking people to stay away from affected areas.

It warns the storm surge will hit the town of Percé early Friday, starting around 2 a.m.

Percé was slammed by a similar storm one year ago that caused extensive damage. It ravaged homes and wiped out the weather-beaten boardwalk that ran along the shore. 

Felix Caron, the city's executive director, says he's confident the work that's been done since will protect a small, but critical one-kilometre stretch of the eroding shoreline this week and into the future.

"We're pretty sure it will do the trick," he said. "We are looking forward to see in reality what we built and tested in laboratory."

The Magdalen Islands is also under both winter storm and storm surge warnings. Starting Thursday afternoon, the islands are expected to receive snow, strong winds and hail.

Poor travel conditions

The Sûreté du Québec is asking motorists to be careful on the roads, where winter weather could hamper driving conditions over the next two days.

Police advise drivers to slow down and to keep their distance from the vehicle in front of them.

Gaspé residents are also being asked to consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve.

"During the snowstorm, many roads will be closed and that's the reason why we ask people to stay home during the storm and only go out in an emergency," said SQ Sgt. Claude Dorion.

In January 2017, debris lined the Percé coast after the violent storm tore apart the boardwalk. (Radio-Canada.)

Orléans Express, Quebec's main intercity bus service, is warning customers that departures are conditional, depending on road conditions.

It says delays, cancellations and service interruptions are also possible at this time. Children are also not allowed to travel alone.

The departure time of the F.-A.-Gauthier ferry from Baie-Comeau to Matane, in Gaspé, was also moved ahead. The ferry left at 11 a.m. Thursday, instead of its scheduled 5 p.m. 

Once the ferry arrives in Gaspé, it will stay there until at least Friday morning.

With files from Verity Stevenson and Radio-Canada