New Brunswick braces for 'severe' storm that could bring 60 cm of snow

A major winter storm is expected to whip through New Brunswick this weekend, bringing rain, freezing rain and up to 60 cm of snow.

Environment Canada says between 20 and 60 cm of snow is expected Sunday into Monday

The major storm that's expected to sweep the region will bring snow, rain, freezing rain and strong winds Sunday into Monday. (Paul Hantiuk/CBC News)

A major winter storm is expected whip through New Brunswick this weekend, bringing rain, freezing rain and up to 60 centimetres of snow to some parts of the province.

Environment Canada says a low pressure system will approach the region from the southwest on Sunday and track across the Gulf of St. Lawrence early Monday.

The "large winter storm" will also bring strong east to northeasterly winds. 

CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon said the northern half of the province can expect between 30 and 60 cm of snow, beginning Sunday and continuing into Monday. The heavy snow mixed with wind gusting between 60 and 80 km/h "will lead to blizzard-like conditions."

CBC Meteorologist Ryan Snoddon's forecast for Sunday's winter storm. (CBC)

Elsewhere, the snow will mix with rain. Southern New Brunswick, including Moncton, could see more than 30 cm of snow and 30 mm of rain, while the Fundy coast, including Saint John, can expect 10 to 20 cm of snow and 30 to 50 mm of rain. 

Snoddon said there is a "significant risk" of freezing rain across southern New Brunswick.

The Fredericton area will see between 15 and 25 cm of snow with ice pellets then between 15 and 25 mm of freezing rain.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is prepping for the worst this weekend. Jules Michaud is with the department. 1:03

The snow is expected to begin around midday Sunday.

Environment Canada said current indications are that the storm will track through the Bay of Fundy on Sunday evening and then into the Gulf of St. Lawrence overnight.

"It should be noted that even a slight shift in its forecast track will have major effects on the type and amount of precipitation received," reads the agency's forecast.

More than 500 plows ready

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is set to dispatch more than 500 plows and some contractors when the storm hits, said department official Jules Michaud. The private company that maintains Route 2 will also be out in force, he said.

"We think it's going to be pretty severe," Michaud said.

"It's going to be heavy to push, harder on the equipment."

He said the rain could wash away the abrasives they lay on the road, which will mean slippery road conditions for drivers.

Geoffrey Downey, Department of Public Safety spokesman, said they're asking people to stay off the roads on Sunday.

"If you have to be somewhere Monday, make arrangements to go on Saturday or go on Monday. Sunday should be reserved for emergencies only," he said.

Freezing rain always brings the chance of power outages, Downey said, and people should have a 72-hour preparedness kit ready.

Extreme cold warning still in effect 

Environment Canada has also issued a winter storm watch for the entire province, including an extreme cold warning for northern regions.

The weather agency said clearing skies and a cold northwesterly flow will result in wind chill values making it feel like –35 on Saturday morning. 

Those areas include:

  • Campbellton and Restigouche County
  • Edmundston and Madawaska County
  • Grand Falls and Victoria County
  • Mount Carleton

The weather agency issues extreme cold warnings when very cold temperatures or wind chill creates an elevated risk to health such as frost bite and hypothermia. 

"Cover up. Frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially with wind chill."

If you’re parking outside this winter, check these five ways to keep your car from freezing up. 2:19