Blizzard batters much of New Brunswick
Up to 45 cm of snow expected in some areas, with wind gusts of up to 80 km/h
Up to 45 centimetres of snow is expected in some areas before the storm ends later tonight, with winds gusting up to 80 km/h.
About 322 NB Power customers are without electricity, as of 6 p.m., down from a peak of about 1,400 at about 3:30 p.m.
The bulk of the outages are in the St. Stephen area, with about 299 homes and businesses affected.
There are also a handful of outages in Fredericton, Bouctouche, and the Campbellton-Dalhousie area.
The utility hopes to have power restored to all customers by about 8 p.m., according to its website.
Travel being affected
"Travel is expected to be extremely hazardous due to reduced visibility," the warning from Environment Canada states.
The weather prompted Brun-Way Highways Operations Inc., to issue a road advisory for the Trans-Canada Highway, between Grand Falls and the Quebec border.
"Travel not advised," RCMP tweeted on behalf of the company, which is responsible for 275 kilometres of highway from the Quebec border to west of Fredericton, and between Woodstock and the U.S. border.
Similar advisories have also been issued for Highway 2, between Fredericton and Moncton, Route 1, between the Rothesay and Riverglade areas, and Highway 105 at Mactaquac Dam.
Many flights in and out of the Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton airports are cancelled.
The Confederation Bridge, linking New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, was closed to all traffic at 5 p.m., until further notice.
Maritime Bus has cancelled numerous routes, due to the weather, and Saint John Transit pulled all of its buses off the roads at 5 p.m.
Coastal Transport cancelled the 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. ferry crossings between Blacks Harbour and Grand Manan.
Princess of Acadia ferry sailings between Saint John and Digby, N.S., have also been cancelled for the day.
The Evandale ferry is also off its run until further notice, according to the Department of Transportation.
Police urge caution
Saint John police say road conditions have deteriorated and have rented four-wheel drive trucks to be able respond quickly to any accidents.
Due to the severity of the storm and poor road conditions, they are responding to emergency calls only, until further notice, and are urging motorists to consider postponing all non-essential travel.
The Kennebecasis Regional Police Force's traffic division posted a similar advisory on Twitter. "A good day to stay home, roads are not getting any better. If you really don't have to go out we would advise not to."
Fredericton police are asking people to drive with care.
As of about 2 p.m., no accidents had been reported in Saint John, said Cooper.
I think where it’s probably our fifth storm of the year that people are getting some experience with the road conditions and the driving and it’s kind of helped us out as far as accidents go today.- Sgt. Ron Cooper, Saint John Police Force
"I think where it’s probably our fifth storm of the year that people are getting some experience with the road conditions and the driving and it’s kind of helped us out as far as accidents go today," he said.
City plows were out in full force again, having already removed about 334 cm of snow since January, blowing the entire snow removal budget.
Several people, like Chris Sinderly, were also out shovelling, trying to get a jump on the snowfall.
"It's been an old-fashioned winter. We haven't had one of these in a long time, so that's my [take] on it. It is winter. We're Maritimers. We deal with it and away we go," said Sinderly.
"There's nobody on the street with any of the snow on the sidewalks. There's no seniors. Seniors like to walk, but they're not going to take the chance on the rough sidewalks. So it's definitely hurt any pedestrian" traffic," he said.
The weather has also forced the cancellation of worship services at several churches across the province, and the Fredericton Meals on Wheels service. The Greater Moncton Home Show, the Riverview Holistic Fair and the National Farmers Union's annual general meeting in Fredericton are also cancelled.
Closures include: the University of Moncton campus, the New Brunswick Museum and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.
Blizzard warnings are in effect for:
- Saint John and County
- Fredericton and Southern York County
- Fundy National Park
- Grand Lake and Queens County
- Grand Manan and coastal Charlotte County
- Kent County
- Kouchibouguac National Park
- Moncton and Southeast New Brunswick
- Oromocto and Sunbury County
- St. Stephen and northern Charlotte County
- Sussex - Kennebecasis Valley and Kings County
Blizzard warnings are issued when the forecast calls for high winds and reduced visibility of under 400 metres are expected for at least four hours.
The Stanley, Doaktown, and Blackville areas are all under a snowfall warning, along with Woodstock and Carleton County.
The snow and blowing snow will begin to taper off this evening over western sections of the province and overnight over eastern area, Environment Canada says.