New Brunswick

N.B. storm creates treacherous conditions

A snowstorm blasts southern New Brunswick, and police warn motorists to drive with caution or stay home if they can.

A snowstorm is blasting southern New Brunswick and police are warning motorists to drive with caution on the bad roads, or stay home if they can.

It's the third storm to hit the province in the last two weeks, with roughly 20 centimetres of snow predicted to fall, causing problems throughout the area.

Saint John police have responded to a few accidents because of the poor driving conditions, Sgt. Stephen Wilson said Friday. 

"The road conditions are absolutely horrendous. They are snow-packed, slippery and visibility is very poor," he said.

"For the response vehicles, we're going to be utilizing some four-wheel drive vehicles. Despite the winter tires on the emergency vehicles, we're still having an extremely difficult time getting around."

In Sussex, a pickup truck went off of Highway 1 eastbound, near mile marker 200, RCMP Const. Marie-Claude Cellard said.

"The roads are extremely slippery, so I would say to everybody to drive with caution and really to stay home if they don't have to go out," she said.

In the Oromocto area, RCMP Insp. Mike O'Malley said there were about eight accidents in the afternoon — mostly single vehicles that went off the road.

He said there weren't any injuries but he said drivers should slow down.

"People tend to want to drive at the speed limit even though the road conditions are poor, and there is an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act for driving in excess of what the road conditions allow," O'Malley said.

"If people are trying to go at the speed limit when visibility and road conditions are poor, and they're involved in a collision, or even if they're not involved in a collision, they can still be ticketed for driving in excess of the road conditions," he said.

Much of province hit

The Department of Transportation was reporting slippery and snow-covered highways across much of the province.

As well, the Transportation Department said visibility was poor on the Trans-Canada Highway near Fredericton and on Highway 7 from Fredericton to Finnegan Hill.

Motorists were warned to "proceed with caution" on Highway 1 outside of Saint John.

Environment Canada has issued weather warnings for the entire central and eastern parts of New Brunswick.

Weather forecasts had been predicting a winter storm since Wednesday and the storm is predicted to bring 20 cm of snow and northeastern New Brunswick is also preparing for 90 km/h winds.

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Even before the snow started falling, schools in many parts of the province closed for the day or planned to shut down early.

Ann-Marie West, a Saint John mother, said she was shocked that schools were closed despite the fact the snow hadn't started to fall.

"I don't understand why schools have been closed — the public school — the primary level only goes until 1:30 p.m.," West said.

"At 12 p.m., if the snow starts, it's not going to dump 20 centimetres."

William Bourque, a meteorologist with Radio-Canada, said Charlotte County and Grand Manan will get the worst of the snowstorm.

"Saint John is likely to see 15 centimetres or so. I would look for probably 10 to 15 in southeastern New Brunswick and then maybe five [cm] once the [storm] is gone through," he said.

Bourque said after this storm passes, New Brunswick can expect its first spell of bitterly cold weather.