Blowing snow shuts down region

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Temperatures expected to rise by early next week

SUMMERSIDE – Yet another winter storm hit Prince Edward Island Friday – but what this one lacked in substance it made up for in showmanship.

A pedestrian struggles against blowing snow and a slippery surface underfoot while crossing Water Street in downtown Summerside late Friday afternoon.

Only about five centimetres of snow was expected to fall on most parts of Prince County throughout the day, but what did fall blew around enough in the 40 km/h wind (gusting to more than 60 km/h) to create dangerous driving conditions.

Shops, public offices, schools and businesses on the Island shut down for the day.

Police were warning people stay off the roads – and most seemed to have paid attention.

The Summerside Police Service reported an all-around quiet day.

A press release from the department warned that while road conditions were generally better in the city than in the surrounding area, there were still white-out conditions within city limits.

They were advising people to stay home and keep their cars off the road to help with snow clearing.

The RCMP was doing the same provincially.

The Mountie dispatch centre reported that there had been no major car crashes in any of their areas as of about 4 p.m.

However, there had been several minor accidents, mostly cars sliding onto the shoulder, into the ditch or other cars. There were no serious injuries reported.

The white-out problem was so severe at some points that the RCMP was actually closing sections of Highway 2. A busy section of the highway from New Annan to Travellers Rest was closed for a little less than an hour due to the poor conditions.

Meanwhile, in the rest of Atlantic Canada, this same storm was expected to dump more than 20 centimetres of snow on most of Nova Scotia and parts of New Brunswick.

Transportation services, both public and private, were crippled throughout the region.

To the south, the states of New Jersey and New York both declared states of emergency.

The storm system crippled most of the Eastern U.S. seaboard and was being blamed for 11 deaths, most from motor vehicle crashes.

Friday's weather generally made for the continuation of a winter and late fall that has exasperated residents throughout the region.

Summerside alone received more than 75 centimetres of snow in December – not record breaking, but certainly higher amounts than in recent memory.

However, as meteorologists throughout the region were quick to point out, Friday, at the height of the weather's nastiness, there is something to look forward to next week.

After a frigid weekend, Monday's temperature is expected to soar to a balmy nine degrees.

– with files from the Canadian Press

Organizations: RCMP, Summerside Police Service, Canadian Press

Geographic location: Prince, New Annan, Travellers Rest Atlantic Canada Nova Scotia New Brunswick New Jersey New York Eastern U.S. Summerside

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