Avalon Peninsula could see 60 cm of snow as weekend storm ramps up
Snow will be heaviest Saturday afternoon and will continue into Sunday
Snow and strong winds are expected to continue across much of eastern Newfoundland on Saturday as part of a winter storm that could bring more than 60 centimetres of snow.
The snow started falling Friday night and eased Saturday morning. Thirty centimetres was reported at St. John's International Airport as of 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
But the snowfall is expected to be at its heaviest through Saturday afternoon and evening and will continue into Sunday.
"We are going to see that heavier snow really develop as we go through the day today," Environment Canada meteorologist Rodney Barney said Saturday.
"Starting around the lunch hour and continuing through the afternoon into the evening, that's when we're going to be seeing some of the heaviest snowfall rates … anywhere from two to four centimetres an hour."
The amount of snow will vary depending on elevation, according to a winter storm warning in effect from Environment Canada, but St. John's and the surrounding area could see between 30 and 60 centimetres of snow.
Northern and southern parts of the Avalon, along with the Bonavista Peninsula, could see between 20 and 35 centimetres of snow.
Strong winds along with snow
Winds will also play a factor in the weekend weather, with northeasterly winds expected to reach 80 km/h across the Avalon. A blowing snow advisory is in place for Terra Nova, according to Environment Canada.
Winds paired with blowing snow has limited visibility to under half a kilometre as of Saturday afternoon. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary had responded to 14 weather-related traffic accidents as of early Saturday morning, and other incidents have been reported on social media.
CBC meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler says winds will stay gusty into Sunday and will be particularly strong over the course of Saturday evening.
The forecast snow will more than match what has fallen since the beginning of winter, she said.
"I believe 40 [centimetres] is all that has fallen this winter. So we are going to more than double, more than likely more than double, our snowfall amounts for the season so far," Brauweiler said.
Transportation is being affected across the Avalon Peninsula by the snow. Many flights have been cancelled at St. John's International Airport and Metrobus and GoBus services will be off the roads on Saturday.
The Avalon Mall and NLC liquor stores in St. John's, Mount Pearl, Paradise and Conception Bay South are closed for the day.
The Gathering Place, a community health centre in St. John's, is reducing its services to essential shelter due to the weather. Normal operations will resume when it is safe to do so.
Recreational facilities in St. John's, Mount Pearl and Paradise were all closed as of Saturday morning, and municipal crews are out cleaning roads.
But, as Mount Pearl Mayor Dave Aker told CBC News, that doesn't mean it's the best decision to head out.
"It's not really a day that's fit to be out and about," he said.