Blizzard shuts down most of Nova Scotia as Halifax schools cancelled for Tuesday
Thousands of Nova Scotia Power customers are without electricity
Cancellations and power outages piled up almost as fast as the snow Monday as a powerful blizzard brought the province to a standstill. Schools, businesses, offices, flights, transit services and even some health-care services were shut down.
The strong winds and steady snow, which produced whiteout conditions, intensified through the day and prompted more cancellations for Tuesday. All schools in the Halifax Regional School Board are closed for Tuesday and Metro Transit won't return buses to the road until 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Ferry service is set to resume at 7 a.m.
The storm knocked out electricity for thousands across the province, with Nova Scotia Power reporting more than 7,000 customers without power as of 10:39 p.m. AT. Crews had already restored service for 16,000 customers.
The utility predicted 95 per cent of customers would have power restored by Tuesday evening. Crews from New Brunswick were bring brought in to aid the effort.
At 3:30 p.m. AT, the Trans-Canada Highway was closed between Exit 4 — the Amherst exit — and the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border. Nova Scotia's Department of Transportation said a tractor-trailer had jackknifed across Highway 104.
Meanwhile, many hospitals cancelled elective surgeries and outpatient services.
The storm's opening act quickly made driving difficult. In Halifax, snow removal crews worked to keep the main traffic arteries clear.
Up to 70 cm expected in some parts
Some areas of the province could get as much as 70 centimetres of snow with winds reaching gusts of 110 km/h. The western portion of the province could see 40 to 70 centimetres.
Environment Canada says the rest of the province, including Cape Breton, could see 30 to 50 centimetres. All that snow should be on the ground by Tuesday morning.
There is a blizzard warning for the entire province and several coastal areas are also affected by storm surge warnings, where high tides combined with high winds could cause localized flooding.
Strong winds will create extensive drifting and blowing snow, said CBC meteorologist Kalin Mitchell.
Stay off the roads
Paula Yeates was out of breath walking to work at a Halifax hospital Monday morning. Despite the conditions, she's staying positive.
"It's been fun actually," she said. "There's some drifts, the snow is about thigh-high. But for the most part, I have to compliment the city on doing a pretty good cleanup job so far."
Both Environment Canada and police in the region have said travel is not recommended during the storm. The province's transportation department has also warned motorists to stay off the roads.
Feed Nova Scotia is keeping its trucks parked. As a result, some soup kitchens and food banks won't be resupplied. The food bank at the First Baptist Church in Dartmouth says it won't be open Tuesday because those food deliveries are cancelled.
"The decision was made that we should give people enough notice so that they can plan that transit service will would not be in operation tomorrow," said spokeswoman Tiffany Chase on Sunday.
"Also, we wanted to avoid the situation of stranding people at work or at school if we were not able to offer this service in the afternoon."
All departing flights cancelled
Every flight out of the Halifax Stanfield International Airport was cancelled until 6 a.m. on Tuesday. Most inbound flights have also been cancelled until Tuesday morning.
Marine Atlantic was expecting to start its service again at 11:45 p.m on Monday.