Nova Scotia

Winter wallop affecting Nova Scotia tonight, power outages reported

A wintry blast is expected to dump up to 45 centimetres of snow in parts of Nova Scotia tonight and into Saturday.

Up to 45 centimetres of snow is expected in some parts of the province

High winds and heavy snow created whiteout conditions in Halifax by mid-afternoon Friday. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

A wintry blast is expected to dump up to 45 centimetres of snow on parts of Nova Scotia tonight and into Saturday.

CBC meteorologist Tina Simpkin said early Friday that morning flurries will intensify, moving from west to east. Through the day, from 10 to 20 centimetres were possible with the heaviest snow and the highest wind gusts happening tonight.

Along the Atlantic coast, rain will mix with snow throughout Friday and into the night.

Simpkin said pockets of the coastline will receive more rain than snow so totals will be hard to predict in coastal communities. They could range from five to 15 centimetres. 

But she said there will be more than 20 centimetres further inland, and "these areas will receive significant snow and high winds."

Northeast winds were expected to gust 40 to 70 km/h on Friday. Simpkin said the the Fundy coast and Victoria and Inverness counties would experience the highest winds, with gusts up to 100 km/h tonight and early Saturday morning. 

Into the evening, there will be periods of snow and blowing snow with a further 15-25 centimetres of snow for inland areas. 

Simpkin said higher than normal water levels are expected tonight, especially along the Fundy coast. Winds will gust over 90 km/h at times and that will coincide with high tide.

Thundersnow

Thunder and lightning were observed during the snowfall on Friday afternoon — a phenomenon known as thundersnow.

CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon said it is rare.

He said it occurs in the same way as thunder during a warmer season. When the upward motion of air is strong enough, snowflakes and ice pellets collide way up in the clouds.

"These collisions create the same static electrical charges as with a summer season thunderstorm and the result is lightning" he said.

 "We typically don't see enough strong rising air to produce lightning in the winter season, so it's a treat to see thundersnow for sure! "

Vehicles experiencing difficult driving conditions on snowy Halifax roads on Friday afternoon. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

Environment Canada issued a mix of warnings for the province with a winter storm warning for counties along the Fundy Shore from Digby to Colchester, Cumberland as well as Pictou, Antigonish, Inverness and Victoria counties. 

There's a special weather statement in effect for parts of the Atlantic coast from the Eastern Shore to Sydney. 

By Saturday, things are expected to improve with clearing skies over the mainland and overcast skies and some flurries in Cape Breton. Northwesterly winds will continue to gust, tapering from 80 to 40 kilometres per hour as the day goes on.

Simpkin said there may be some snow that will mix with showers in the afternoon on Sunday. 

Halifax Regional Municipality announced it would be enforcing its overnight parking ban between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Saturday for both its central and non-central zones.

This graphic shows expected snowfall and rainfall amounts for Nova Scotia (Tina Simpkin/CBC)

Power outages

By 5:15 p.m. Friday, Nova Scotia Power was reporting that around 66,000 customers were without power.

As of 9:15 p.m., there were 38,566 outages across the province.

Speaking to CBC Mainstreet on Friday afternoon, Nova Scotia Power's Matt Drover said the utility had over 400 people out in the field restoring power.

He said NSP crews, contractors in Nova Scotia and partners in New Brunswick were in position across the province in anticipation of the storm.

"Be patient, we're doing everything we can to restore power as quickly as possible," Drover said. "It's an all-hands-on-deck approach and we're working as quickly as we can."

He said communities would be restored first followed by streets and individual properties.

School-related closures

Halifax Regional Centre for Education closed all of its schools to students and staff on Friday. 

"While most have not yet returned to in-person learning, many students whose needs are met through learning centres have been in school this week," the centre said on Twitter.

All learning centres in the Chignecto Central Regional Centre for Education are closed, while offices and work sites will be closing early at 12 p.m. local time.

Schools and work sites within the South Shore Regional Centre for Education will close at 11 a.m., and no buses will run. Learning centre classes will end at 11 a.m. and any schools with plans to distribute technology Friday afternoon will reschedule.

All NSCAD University campuses were closed on Friday as were several NSCC campuses and learning centres, including the Strait Area, Annapolis Valley, Cumberland and Pictou campuses. 

The NSCC Kingstec Campus and the Digby Learning Centre closed at noon and 11:30 a.m respectively. 

Acadia University and the Halifax and Truro campuses of Dalhousie University closed at noon. 

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Museum of Natural History shut down at noon.

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