Blizzard warning in place for Nova Scotia, with up to 70 cm of snow possible
Storm to hit all Atlantic Canada with significant snowfall and strong winds
Please note: This story was published in February 2017. It does not contain a current weather forecast for February 2018.
Up to 70 cm of snow whipped by high winds is threatening to wallop Nova Scotia on Monday, with blizzard warnings in place for the entire province and storm surge warnings for some coastal areas.
Two low pressure systems will come together just north of Long Island in New York State on Sunday. The resulting weather system will rapidly strengthen and move to a position just south of Yarmouth, N.S., then slowly pass east, affecting all three Maritime provinces and eventually Newfoundland and Labrador.
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"The Atlantic coastline of Nova Scotia could in particular see some very high local amounts as bands of snow continue to linger and accumulate Monday night into Tuesday," said CBC meteorologist Kalin Mitchell.
Total snowfall amounts by Tuesday morning are expected to range from 40 to 70 centimetres for the western portions of the province, 30 to 50 cm for the remainder of the province and Cape Breton, Environment Canada said Sunday afternoon, increasing earlier snowfall estimates.
The weather agency said in its blizzard warning that winds may gust up to 110 km/h. (Les Suête winds local to the west coastal highlands of Cape Breton may reach 140 km/h.)
"The strong winds will create extensive drifting and blowing snow," Mitchell said. "Visibility is expected to drop to, or less than, 400 metres for prolonged periods of time on Monday."
High snowfall amounts
The snow begins late Sunday night in the southwest of Nova Scotia.
It is forecast to spread across the Maritimes through Monday morning and into the afternoon.
There are storm surge warnings in place for much of the coast, including the Halifax and Sydney areas. Flooding is possible.
"Extreme caution should be taken if working on, or in the vicinity of, the coast during high tides on Monday," Mitchell said.
Mitchell posted a Facebook Live update on the storm at 5:30 p.m. AT.
"Winds will slowly subside Monday night into Tuesday morning but remain gusty for much of the Maritimes," Mitchell said. "Areas of drifting snow can be expected to persist on Tuesday especially where there is still some snow falling."
Storm affecting rest of Atlantic Canada
The system will bring similar conditions to the rest of the Atlantic provinces.
In New Brunswick, a blizzard warning is in place for for the province's south, including Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton, while a band across the middle of the province is under a winter storm warning. Snowfall amounts between 30 and 55 cm are expected, with winds gusting to 100 km/h.
A blizzard warning is in place for all of Prince Edward Island, with 25 to 35 cm of snow expected along with 100 km/h wind gusts.
There is a winter storm watch for Newfoundland, where 15 to 30 centimetres is expected over the island's southeast by the end of the day Tuesday. In Labrador, more than 15 centimetres of snow is possible in the southeast, with winds gusting to 80 km/h.
Closures and cancellations
On Sunday night a number of school boards in Nova Scotia preemptively closed schools for Monday because of the storm.
All schools and offices in the Halifax Regional School Board and the Chignecto Central Regional School will be closed.
The most up to date information on closures and cancellations throughout the province can be found on Storm Centre.
Travel not recommended
Environment Canada and police in the region say travel is not recommended during the storm, noting that roads are expected to be extremely hazardous due to poor visibility. Numerous flights in and out of the region have been cancelled.
Halifax Transit has already cancelled all buses and ferries for Monday.
The regional municipality has also cancelled tomorrow's curbside pick-up and said all municipal offices, customer service centres and recreation facilities will be closed.
"We haven't had one of this capacity in quite a while. Last year was a bit benign compared to what we're experiencing now at the beginning of this week," Environment Canada meteorologist Jason Sheppard said.
"I suspect there will be some happy kids tomorrow as school is potentially cancelled."
Sheppard said extreme weather has been slow to start this winter, but explains that a recent shift in the jet stream has put Atlantic Canada right in the path of brewing storms from the U.S. eastern seaboard.
After this one, he said another one appears to be on its way for later this week for the Maritimes and possibly Newfoundland.
With files from Kalin Mitchell, John Mazerolle and The Canadian Press