PEI

Cancellations slow down Island as storm ramps up

Islanders can expect a pile of snow, along with ice pellets, through Friday and until Saturday morning. 

Heavy snow mixed with ice pellets in some areas forecast to blanket the province

Islanders like Luc Delaet tried to get ahead of the accumulation and start the cleanup early in the storm. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Islanders can expect a pile of snow, along with ice pellets, through Friday and until Saturday morning. 

"It's a slow moving system. It's a very different kind of storm system than the last three,"  said CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland. "It's a very large frontal boundary."

That means it won't be as intense in terms of wind or rate of precipitation, but it will bring consistent precipitation throughout the duration of the storm. 

"It's going to continue to add up," he said. 

"While the more significant risk is over Nova Scotia, some freezing rain is still possible here on P.E.I. for southeastern areas. Snow and ice pellets will begin to taper off tonight into Saturday, but lingering flurries and blowing snow may be an issue through Saturday morning for exposed areas."

Snow is piling up in Charlottetown, and will only grow as more falls in this first February storm of the year. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Scotland is forecasting amounts between 25 and 50 centimetres across the province. As of 5 p.m. AT, Charlottetown Airport was reporting 27 centimetres accumulation.

"Snow-covered roads are the big concern," he said, adding that power outages are also possible.

The southern areas of Queens and Kings counties will see more ice pellets mixing with the snow, meaning less snow in those areas.

Wind won't be as high as in previous winter storms this year. 

"It may not be as windy as our last few storms, but this slow-moving frontal boundary is more than making up for that with heavy precipitation," said Scotland. 

He said flurries will reduce on Saturday, but winds will grow stronger, with speeds of 30 to 60 km/h in the afternoon.

"Temperatures will also fall through the day, which may result in icy surfaces after Friday's messy combination of snow, ice pellets and freezing rain, so please drive according to the conditions and pedestrians should be cautious to avoid slips and falls," Scotland said.

"Sunday will be cold but calm with some much needed sunshine. So bundle up and enjoy a well deserved break after today's wild weather."

Plow dispatchers said equipment is out on all the main roads as of midday, and were reporting that roads are snow covered with some drifting but that visibility is fair. 

Lots of cancellations

Cancellations started rolling in early Friday morning.

Island children are getting a long weekend, thanks to Mother Nature. 

Both the Public Schools Branch and the French Language School Board cancelled school. UPEI and Holland College also cancelled on-campus classes for the day. Online classes may be proceeding as normal. 

Getting around wasn't easy for those who needed to be out and about Friday morning. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)

Canada Post has issued what it calls a "red delivery service alert" for the province — which means there will be no mail delivery because of the freezing rain.

"Delivery will resume once conditions improve and it's safe to do so," Canada Post said in the alert. 

The provincial government closed all of its offices for the day, along with all COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics across the Island. 

Crews were getting an early start at snow clearing on Friday. (Laura Chapin/CBC)

All is quiet at the Charlottetown Airport, where flight cancellations came early. No flights will be in or out until at least tomorrow. 

"We are hoping by tomorrow evening we will be back on track," said Charlottetown Airport CEO Doug Newson. "This is the fourth weekend of the last five that we have had weather impacting flights." 

Newson said airlines are looking at adding extra flights to help with the backlog, so travellers should check on rebooking.

 Island Waste Management has cancelled garbage pickup and rescheduled it for Saturday. Service Canada closed its offices, and Transit P.E.I. and the County Line Express cancelled their runs for the day. T3 is operating in Charlottetown, Stratford and Cornwall, but people should check online for updates. 

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