SUMMERSIDE — Wednesday's winter storm will pack a bigger wallop than first expected, with up to 30 centimetres of snow coupled with high winds expected for much of the province.
© Nancy MacPhee/Journal Pioneer
Environment Canada meteorologist Andy Firth said anyone that has to get out should so do early, as snow will start to fall and winds pick up by 7 a.m.
A special weather statement from Environment Canada out just before 4 p.m. Tuesday said heavy snow and blowing snow, with amounts of 15 to 30 centimetres, are expected for Prince County, promoting a winter storm warning to be issued.
This follows Sunday’s storm, which dumped 16 centimetres of snow on Summerside and shutdown much of the province for most of the day.
“And it’s not even winter yet,” said Firth, who noted snowfall accumulations so far this winter in Summerside and Prince County are 40 per cent higher than this time last year and temperatures, to date, are much cooler, running two to four degrees Celsius below normal.
The most recent storm is the result of a low-pressure system that was developing off the eastern U.S. seaboard Tuesday afternoon and that was expected to track northeastward to lay over the Gulf of Maine Wednesday morning and over Cape Breton in the evening.
Snow ahead of this system was expected to begin over the Island early Wednesday morning and continue all day before ending near midnight.
“It will be cloudy with snow sometimes heavy early in the morning, the 7 a.m. time frame,” said Firth. “People have to make a decision if they want to head to work early in the morning. We’re expecting 20 to 30 centimetres of snow before it all wraps up, which should be late evening when it will be tapering to flurries.
“There is going to be a fair amount of wind in terms of north-easterlies becoming north-westerlies gusting 60 to 70 kilometres. That’s why we are going to get blowing snow and why we issued a winter storm warning. The combination of the amount of snow and the blustery winds… will make it a pretty nasty day.”
The storm, added Firth, would be at its peak mid-day.
“Once you hit late morning, we’re looking at five centimetres or so. It should be hitting its stride by noon.”
Snow will taper to flurries early in the evening and clear overnight.
Another storm is being tracked for Sunday, although Firth said it is too early to tell what that system will bring for P.E.I.
“There is something else that’s coming our way for Sunday but we have to wait and see. It doesn’t look like a major storm at this point in time.”
The impending storm prompted officials with the Confederation Bridge late Tuesday to issue a warning of possible restrictions throughout the day Wednesday.
This came after Northumberland Ferries Ltd. indicated that due to the storm and current ice conditions the 4:30 p.m. crossing Tuesday afternoon would be its last for the season. Ferries are being tied up three days earlier than normal.
Winds are projected in the 60-to-80-kilometre-per-hour range gusting to 100 kilometres per hour on the Confederation Bridge and the forecast indicates conditions will remain the same until approximately 6 a.m. on Thursday.
Late Tuesday the winter storm warning prompted several cancellations, including a press conference in Charlottetown to launch P.E.I. 2014 clothing.
Stay tuned to the Journal Pioneer website, Facebook page or visit @JournalPEI on Twitter for updates on cancellations and weather conditions throughout the day.