New Brunswick

Police warn drivers against travel as snow, ice pellets, freezing rain whip N.B.

RCMP have asked motorists to stay off many roads and highways across the province.

Snow and wind expected to pick up again this evening, reducing visibility before tapering off

Crews digging out in Saint John as a storm hits the province. (Graham Thompson/CBC)

A winter storm created treacherous road conditions across New Brunswick on Wednesday, prompting the RCMP to warn drivers to avoid travel if possible.

The storm hit New Brunswick early Wednesday morning, closing schools and many businesses, and is expected to pick up again in the evening.

More than 40 centimetres of snow was forecast for some areas, along with some ice pellets and freezing rain. 

RCMP New Brunswick tweeted out advisories for several highways, including parts of the Trans-Canada, and warned drivers about reduced visibility caused by blowing snow.

A three-car collision on the Mactaquac Dam closed the road from Route 102 to Route 105, making it impossible to cross the dam.

Six vehicles were stuck on the dam, including the three involved in the accident. RCMP confirmed one person was taken to the hospital with injuries. 

This is how hard Wednesday's storm hit New Brunswick

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Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John were hit hard during Wednesday's snow storm. 1:00

The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization also warned people to stay off the roads and to charge devices in case the power went out. 

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is not recommending travel on the following highways: 

  • Route 3 - Longs Creek to Brockway
  • Route 4 - Thomaston Corner to Maine
  • Route 7 (Vanier Highway) - East Junction Route 2 to Finnegan Hill
  • Route 11 - Campbellton to Bathurst, Janeville to Bertrand
  • Route 180 Southeast Upsalquitch River to Bathurst

Julia Arseneault, the communications co-ordinator for SNC Lavalin, the company that maintains the Trans-Canada from the Quebec border to Longs Creek, expects that advisory to be extended farther north.

"We're looking at snow-covered roads everywhere right now, poor visibility for the most part, and the blowing snow drifting is certainly contributing to that visibility factor," said Arseneault.

CBC News hosted a special Facebook Live weather update with meteorologists Ryan Snoddon, Jay Scotland and Tina Simpkin on Wednesday morning. If you missed it, you can catch up on the latest news here.

Mike Walker, the roadway operations manager for the City of Fredericton, said the roads in the city are still snow-covered. Crews have been on the road all day and he said cleanup will continue overnight.

"You need to use some caution," said Walker.

"We've got our trucks on the road but you know it takes them a couple hours to get through."

Al Giberson, general manager at MRDC, said the roads between Fredericton and Moncton are still snow-covered, and while visibility has improved, snow and winds are forecast to pick up again during the evening before tapering off.

Lots of snow and poor visibility on Queen Street in Fredericton. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Jeff Scott, the general foreman for the City of Moncton, said crews started salting the roads at 5 a.m. Wednesday and have also started working on clearing sidewalks.

Scott said part of the challenge crews will face is on side streets where ice remains from previous storms.

"If the wings of the plows start rutting up on that ice, then it kind of lifts it up in general and it becomes difficult to clean as much of the street off," said Scott.

A cyclist braves the winter weather in Moncton on Wednesday morning. (Michele Brideau/Radio-Canada)

Saint John Transit cancelled service for the day. Fredericton Transit suspended service until 2 p.m. but buses returned later in the afternoon. Moncton buses are running, but delays can be expected.

White Head ferry service has also been suspended and the Deer Island route is down to one ferry. 

Flights in and out of Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton were delayed or cancelled during much of the day.

Winter storm warnings

The snow was expected to change to ice pellets in the afternoon in southern areas of the province.

Tina Simpkin, a CBC meteorologist, said that the chance of freezing rain in New Brunswick will increase as you head south.

"Closer to the coast we're going to see that mixing with snow and ice pellets," Simpkin said. "To the north, it's going to be all snow and a whole lot of it."

Up to 40 centimetres of snow is expected in some areas of the province. (Graham Thompson/CBC)

Simpkin said the freezing rain line looks to be just south of Fredericton.

The storm is expected to taper off this evening in western New Brunswick but will continue into the overnight hours in eastern regions.

NB Power said it was monitoring the storm and crews are ready to respond. At 9:10 p.m., about 400 customers in the Chaleur region were without power. 

Schools closed

Classes at several universities and community colleges were cancelled or delayed.

Have you ever wondered how districts decide to close schools? Watch here as the CBC's Elizabeth Fraser answers that question:

How does a school district decide to call a snow day?

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This is what happens behind the scenes when transportation managers see snow, ice or other trouble in the forecast. 1:48

Community college campuses in Dieppe, Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John and Woodstock stayed closed.

The University of Moncton closed its Moncton, Edmundston, Shippagan and Bathurst campuses for the day.

The University of New Brunswick Fredericton and St. Thomas University have delayed opening until 5 p.m., when a decision was to be made about evening classes.

Many businesses were closed for the day because of the storm. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

UNB Saint John remained closed for the day.

Mount Allison University said it wouldn't open until 6 p.m. and the New Brunswick College of Craft & Design closed for the day.

Canada Post did not make deliveries, and all provincial courts were closed at noon.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton