New Brunswick

Driving to work? Here's a rundown of what to expect with today's storm

A big winter storm is expected to hit today and it'll bring up to 40 centimetres of snow to New Brunswick.

This is what Wednesday's storm might look like in New Brunswick and how you could be affected

A major winter storm is blasting through the province today and motorists are being reminded to use caution while out on the roads. (CBC)

New Brunswickers are being urged to stay off the roads as a winter storm pushes its way through the province today.

Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the entire province and some parts could see snowfall totals between 20 and 40 centimetres.

"It will pack a punch but nothing that we haven't seen before," said CBC meterologist Ryan Snoddon.

So here's how the day might unfold: 

Midnight to 6 a.m. — snow starts to fall 

A low-pressure system approaching from the southwest will cross the Maritimes.

Snoddon said snow will start to fall in the Grand Manan area and make its way across most of the province.

At that time, most of New Brunswick can expect a "trace to a couple of centimetres" of snow — except the Acadian Peninsula, which will see snow a bit later.

But southwestern areas like St. Stephen, Grand Manan, will see up 5 cm of snow before 6 a.m.

6 a.m. to noon — heavy duty snow

Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the entire province. (Jennifer Sweet/CBC)

Snow will start to fall in the Acadian Peninsula between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., and will start picking up elsewhere across the province with heavy accumulations.

Winds will also start gusting between 50 and 70 km/h across the province, which will cause blowing snow and reduced visibility for motorists. 

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Snoddon said drivers can expect to be dealing with snow by the time they hit the roads in the morning. 

"This will be a challenging commute even for seasoned winter drivers," he said. 

Between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., ice pellets will also start mixing with snow in the southern half of the province, including the Moncton, Fredericton, Woodstock and Saint John areas. 

The northern half of the province will see lots of snow but areas in the south will see a mix of snow and ice pellets. (Ryan Snoddon/CBC)

Emergency officials are reminding motorists to drive carefully or even to stay off the roads if they can.

"The snow, compounded by ice pellets, will affect handling of vehicles, raising the risk of accidents and vehicles getting stuck," said David McKinley, assistant deputy chief for the Fredericton Fire Department.

From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. — here comes freezing rain

The storm is expected to start early this morning and last late into the evening. (Shane Magee/CBC)

The southern half of the province will see an increase of snow, mixed with ice pellets and freezing rain. The Fundy coastline could also see a bit of rain.

More snow and blowing snow is expected in northern areas of the province throughout the afternoon.

By 5 p.m. northern parts of the province will see between 20 and 30 cm of snow. 

As a result, motorists across the province will also face a challenging drive home.  

Wednesday evening into overnight

Emergency officials are reminding motorists to stay off the roads throughout the day, if possible. (Jennifer Sweet/CBC)

Northern parts of the province could see additional snowfalls reaching up to 40 cm in some places. 

The southern half of the province will see between 15 and 20 cm of snow.

Snow will eventually taper to flurries Wednesday evening into the overnight hours for both the southern and northern half of the province. 

Winds are also expected to die down.

But in the southern part of the province, 40 to 50 km/h winds are still expected into Thursday morning.

Flurries will linger until early Thursday morning but will have tapered off by the time people wake up and start their day.

Snoddon said a lot of shovelling will take place on Thursday. 

"If you've got a snowblower, lucky you," he said. 

Possible power outages

NB Power said crews are on standby to resolve any power outages that might happen throughout the day. (Shane Fowler/CBC )

Marc Belliveau, a spokesperson for NB Power, said crews are ready to respond and the utility has been monitoring the weather. 

He doesn't expect the storm to cause any "significant challenges."

Belliveau said power outages will depend on wind gusts and ice pellets in the southern half of the province that could change to freezing rain.  

"Coastal areas and the most southern parts of the province, which could receive some freezing rain, are the areas of most interest to us right now," he said in an email to CBC News.

Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for the Emergency Measures Organization, said people should monitor the forecast throughout the day.

He said people should also have a 72-hour preparedness kit ready. It should include, water, food, battery-powered radio, flashlight, clothes, cash, backup medication and food for pets. 

"New Brunswickers always need to be prepared, especially during the winter," he said.

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