SUMMERSIDE -- With schools closed across the Island today, it’s a safe bet that lots of families are now wishing they had started their Spring Break vacation a few days early and escaped this latest brush with winter.
Of course, not just schools are closed today. Government offices, including liquor stores, are closed for the day throughout Prince County and even some in the Charlottetown area. Many banks and other services in Prince County also closed for the day, giving many workers who didn’t get away before the storm a day to get some vacation packing done.
March Break, of course, is next week, but many families tend to leave a day or two early to beat the rush. They’d be having some difficulty with that today, though, as even some flights into and out of the Charlottetown Airport are delayed because of the storm.
Garth Gallant, snowplow dispatcher for Prince County, said he advised plow operators on secondary roads in Prince County around 10:30 a.m. to head home until conditions improve. “It’s just getting too bad for them to see,” he said.
Tracey Talbot, a meteorologist with Environment Canada in Dartmouth, said Prince County residents might not see much inmprovement in conditions until evening. Although there has already been a changeover to freezing rain and rain in the Charlottetown area, Talbot said the snow and ice pellet mix is likely to continue in Prince County all day. Wind out of the north at 60 kilometers an hour with guests to 80 were likely to stay that way throughout the day, too, tapering off in the evening as the storm pulls away and the wind shifts to the northwest. Colder air is expected to follow the storm, dropping to around minus 14 Celsius overnight before starting to warm up.
Talbot said the only volunteer weather station she had to rely on in Prince County this morning was out of Wellington where 17 centimeters of snow had fallen by 7:30 a.m. Nine centimeters of snow was reported at Charlottetown airport before the changeover.
Gallant said roads were filling in behind the plows throughout Prince County. The freezing rain that was predicted as part of the storm didn’t really materialize, but many areas received ice pellets mixed with the snow.
Despite the conditions, Gallant said some people have been venturing out onto side roads, and some of them have been getting stuck, and even tow trucks were having difficulty reaching them because of all the snow.