Police urge motorists to stay off roads as nor'easter moves through New Brunswick

Accidents were already piling up Tuesday evening as a major nor'easter started to pound New Brunswick with heavy snow, strong winds and blowing snow that could continue into Wednesday.

Bathurst, Miramichi and some other northern and eastern areas could get 50 or more centimetres

Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for most of the province as a nor'easter moves in Tuesday afternoon. (CBC)

Roads quickly deteriorated Tuesday night as a nor'easter moved northward through New Brunswick, causing headaches for motorists and police.

Portions of routes 1, 3 and 7 were snow-covered, according to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure's 511 service, and travel advisories were issue for major provincial highways.

New Brunswick RCMP said travel is not recommended on Route 1 from the Maine border to the Petitcodiac area, saying in a tweet at about 9 p.m. "driving conditions are extremely poor." Drivers were also cautioned against travelling on Route 2 between Longs Creek and Woodstock.

A plow is seen in a ditch along Route 7 near Welsford early Tuesday evening. Police in southern New Brunswick have reported multiple crashes as the storm begins to pound the province. (Colin McPhail/CBC News)

Most of the province is under a winter storm warning from Environment Canada.

The storm, which started about mid-afternoon in the south, is expected to bring total snowfall amounts of 15 to 20 centimetres Tuesday night and more on Wednesday. Some areas could get up to 50 cm.

Numerous crashes

Accidents started piling up early in the evening.

Brian Wilson, a platoon chief for the Saint John Fire Department, said that by 6:30 p.m., fire crews had responded to numerous accidents around the city, including one involving a transport truck along Highway 1. 

In that incident, the truck slid completely off the road and about 20 metres into the woods. 

The driver was uninjured, but emergency crews left the scene before the truck could be pulled from the woods. 

Drivers urged to delay trips

Saint John police are urging motorists to stay off the roads.

"Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve," city police said in a tweet.

Fredericton police also warned motorists to slow down.

"Please slow down and drive safe. Adjust your driving for the weather conditions," read a tweet posted to their twitter account.

More snow on the way

Some parts of eastern and northern New Brunswick, including Miramichi and Bathurst, could get 50 centimetres or more Tuesday night and Wednesday, according to Environment Canada. 

Moncton could get up to 35 centimetres of snow, but it will likely be mixed with rain Wednesday morning and in the early evening.

Airports in Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton cancelled some flights because of the forecast. 

The Grand Manan Ferry service cancelled the 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. trips and said it would not be making any more crossings Tuesday night. 

CBC meteorologist Kalin Mitchell said snow was expected to start out light, with blowing snow increasing during the night and reducing visibility.

Strong northeasterly winds gusting from 60 to 80 kilometres an hour were forecast.

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The winds will ease over most of the province on Wednesday but will continue over northeastern sections until late in the day, Environment Canada said.

A special weather statement in effect for Grand Falls and the Victoria County area, as well as Edmundston and Madawaska County, forecasts up to 15 to 20 cm of snow over Tuesday night and Wednesday.

"At this time the system is expected to track far enough to the east to keep snow amounts over northwestern New Brunswick to the 10 to 15 cm range," Environment Canada said.

"However, should the system veer from its expected track on Wednesday these amounts could go higher and snowfall warnings may be required." 

Mitchell said a wet snow is expected for for most of the Maritimes, particularly along the Bay of Fundy coastline, where the snow is expected to turn to rain.

Danielle Elliott, a spokesperson with EMO, said in these types of weather events, residents should be prepared for any type of emergency, including a power outage. 

She said New Brunswickers are reminded to have everything they need for at least 72 hours following a storm.

Residents should have emergency kits in their homes and cars, and they should include: food, water, radios, batteries, first-aid supplies and any special items they might need.

She also advised drivers to stay off the roads, because they will be snow-covered and visibility will be poor.