By: Celia Carr- Assistant External News Editor
A majority of Atlantic Canada was severely affected by harsh weather conditions after a storm that hit Friday Jan. 3 afternoon. As well, Ontario, Quebec and the Prairie Provinces are being warned about below-freezing temperatures.
A large part of Newfoundland, including St. John’s, is without power after a fire at a power station knocked the power out within the province on Saturday morning. The severe weather conditions are said to be what caused the blaze and the provincial Crown said they are working hard to restore power. The fire was quickly taken under control and there were no injuries as a result of the incident.
The mayor of St. John’s, Dennis O’Keefe, addressed residents by saying “If you don’t have to be on the road, don’t be on the road, and give the crews that are out working against the snow and against the wind a chance to make some headway.” He also said that it will be difficult to keep the local streets open due to the high winds of over 100 km/h. He urges that people use “discretion and common sense” when going out, and that people should only be going out in cases of emergencies.
Nova Scotia was particularly affected and many retail stores were closed early due to the weather. Additionally the bus services in Halifax were suspended for the day. The storm dumped as much as 40cm of snow on Halifax by late in the afternoon on Friday.
“We’re not used to this powdery snow, because normally on the East Coast, there are ice pellets or a lot of moisture. That’s not the case this time because there’s this intense deep freeze, -30oC with the wind chill, and there’s just not enough moisture at that point to get that heavy, wet snow, “CTV’s Todd Battis in Halifax told the news channel. He reported that the roads within Halifax were extremely quiet and that most of the schools stayed closed all day Friday. The city’s 200 snow plows attempted to get ahead and clear the roads, but the intense winds were blowing much of the snow onto the roads again.
The harsh storm weather also had a huge impact on the travel plans of many Canadians as a majority of flights booked to and from Atlantic Canada were cancelled. Air Canada, for example, said that flights from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to Eastern Canada may be affected by the weather in that part of the country.
While Atlantic Canada seems to have the most snow to deal with, elsewhere in Canada, extreme weather conditions have also affected its residents.
All across Ontario, Environment Canada has issued wind chill warnings as a result of a cold Arctic air mass that settled in earlier in the week remains in the area. Those residing in Northern Ontario have been told to stay inside and to cover as much of their skin when they’re outside due to temperatures hovering around -40o Celsius.
Temperatures across the country are expected to warm up later this week, but they will average in the single digits below zero.