White Christmas coming to Nova Scotia — along with ice, rain and wind
Gusts of up to 120 km/h could cause power outages in some parts of the province
Nova Scotians may get a white Christmas this year, but they'll also likely get an icy, wet and windy Christmas.
The snow will begin Monday morning but will generally be light before turning into ice pellets or freezing rain and then rain in the afternoon.
Parts of the Annapolis Valley and northern mainland Nova Scotia, as well as areas of higher terrain in Cape Breton, may pick up a few centimetres of the icy mix, but accumulations will mostly be light.
Much higher snowfall amounts of 15 centimetres or more are expected in New Brunswick, so be mindful of that if your travel plans take you into that province on Monday.
The storm will pick up strength as it moves across southern New Brunswick and into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This rapid intensification will quickly generate some strong winds for Nova Scotia on Monday afternoon and evening before they start to diminish overnight into Tuesday morning.
By mid- to late afternoon Monday, gusts around the coastline of the mainland and at higher terrain may hit 90 to 110 km/h, with the general direction being out of the southwest. Cape Breton can expect similar gusts Monday evening and night, although Inverness County may see gusts exceeding 120 km/h due to the topography of the highlands.
Similar gusts in the past have resulted in power outages, and the wind may also disrupt ferry services and travel on the Confederation Bridge. Environment and Climate Change Canada has already issued wind warnings for areas of the province with more possible as the storm approaches.
Winds are forecast to diminish to 40 gusting to 60 km/h for the mainland and 50 gusting to 70 km/h for Cape Breton by sunrise on Tuesday.
Nova Scotia Power gears up
Nova Scotia Power said it is preparing for the storm and will activate its emergency operations centre at 10 a.m. on Monday.
The company will have power line crews, forestry teams and staff at the customer care centre on duty.
"We will be ready to respond to any interruptions in our customers' Christmas celebrations as quickly as it is safe to do so," said Matt Drover, Nova Scotia Power's storm lead, in a news release.
"We expect this storm to cause power outages, so we would really encourage people to monitor their local weather forecasts and plan their celebrations and dinner plans accordingly."
Ferry crossings affected
The anticipated weather has already caused some ferry cancellations.
Marine Atlantic's Dec. 25 crossing scheduled to depart from Port aux Basques, N.L., to North Sydney, N.S., at 11:45 p.m. is now scheduled to depart Tuesday, Dec. 26 at 11:45 p.m., weather permitting. And the Dec. 25 crossing from North Sydney to Port aux Basques at 11:45 p.m. is now scheduled to depart Tuesday, Dec. 26 at 11:45 p.m., weather permitting.