New Brunswick

Another winter storm on the way for New Brunswick

Environment Canada said in a special weather statement a system moving up the Eastern Seaboard will bring snow, ice pellets and rain on Friday.

Strong westerly winds gusted up to 110 km/h in the northeast, 90 km/h in the southeast Wednesday

After this week's snow and high winds, Environment Canada is warning about another wintry weather system on the way to New Brunswick. (Jennifer Sweet/CBC)

Another winter storm is heading to New Brunswick.

Environment Canada said in a special weather statement a system moving up the Eastern Seaboard will bring snow, ice pellets and rain on Friday. The federal agency said Wednesday it could not project snowfall amounts.

It's not what New Brunswickers want to hear after two days of severe weather, including powerful winds that closed schools and cut power to thousands of NB Power customers on Wednesday. 

All schools in the Francophone North-East School District were closed for the day. In the Anglophone North School District all schools in the Bathurst, Dalhousie and Campbellton areas closed as well. 

As many as 19,000 NB Power customers were without electricity Wednesday as strong winds hit the province overnight. By Wednesday night, that figure had dropped to about 8,500.

By 9 p.m., more than 5,200 customers remained without power in the Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe areas. More than 1,000 NB Power customers were affected in the Acadian Peninsula, while roughly 840 and 630 customers in the Chaleur and Restigouche regions, respectively, were in the dark.

The outages came less than two weeks after a major wind storm whipped through New Brunswick, causing about 100,000 customers to lose power. Some customers had to wait more than five days to have their power restored by NB Power crews.

Marc Belliveau, a spokesperson for NB Power, said high winds are once again causing trees and branches to make contact with power lines.

He said Wednesday there were about 65 crews with NB Power and 32 contractor crews working to restore power.

"In a few northern areas, visibility is an issue," he said.

Wind warning in the north 

NB Power crews were working to restore electricity to thousands of customers Wednesday morning. (Shane Fowler/CBC )

Environment Canada issued a wind warning for the northern parts of the province, as a "rapidly intensifying" low pressure system tacks into the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Wednesday morning. 

Environment Canada said strong westerly winds will gust up to 110 kilometres an hour in the northeast and 90 km/h in the southeast. 

The weather agency said winds will begin to slowly diminish Wednesday evening.

"Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur," Environment Canada said in a statement.

"High winds may toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break."

Roads are icy and snow-covered

Brun-Way Highway Operations Inc., the company that maintains the Trans-Canada Highway from Longs Creek to the Quebec border and Route 95 from Woodstock to the U.S. border, said the roads are icy or partly snow-covered with some slush.

Spokesperson Julia Arseneault advised drivers to reduce their speed and follow the rules and regulations of the road.

New Brunswick was hit with a major storm on Tuesday, causing power outages and slippery roads. (Jennifer Sweet/CBC)

"It's going to be slow going," she said.

Arseneault said some parts of the province, such as the Saint-Léonard area in the northwest, are still getting snow. But it's mostly the wind that will give drivers problems throughout the day.

"Drifting is going to be the most significant factor people are going to want to look out for today," she said. "You can get localized whiteout conditions and visibility is quite low."

Salt trucks on the road

Mike Walker, manager of roadway operations in Fredericton, said there are still several slippery patches in areas across the city.

Although drivers will be able to get around easily, Walker is advising pedestrians to be cautious while walking on sidewalks.

"Any surface that was wet yesterday is now icy," he said.

"We're going to be heading out to do some sanding and it will take some time to get through everything."

When the storm first hit on Tuesday morning, Walker said salt trucks were already out on the roads.

The salt isn't intended to melt every piece of snow that falls out of the sky.- Mike Walker, manager of roadway operations in Fredericton

He said the city takes care of about 800 kilometres of road, which takes more than two hours to put salt down.

"It's a large area to cover," he said.

On social media, some residents were complaining about Fredericton's slippery roads and the lack of salt trucks on Tuesday.

Police also responded to 20 minor motor vehicle collisions in New Brunswick's capital on Tuesday.

Walker said he wasn't surprised by this.

"Winter seems to take people by surprise every year," he said. 

During a storm, he said crews focus on priority streets first, which contain a high volume of traffic, such as the Westmorland Street Bridge.

"Any time we're in the middle of a snowstorm and snow continues to accumulate, that truck has likely gone over that street once and applied salt," he said.

Icy driveway? Salt not working? Try beet juice.

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He said the salt isn't working to melt all the snow on the road. Instead, the salt is creating a layer of brine between the snow and the pavement to prevent snow from freezing to the road.

"If the snow freezes to the road that's when we're in a position where the day after a storm, we would not have bare roads," he said. 

"The salt isn't intended to melt every piece of snow that falls out of the sky."

With files from Information Morning Fredericton


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