Major blizzard to hit Wednesday

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A blizzard forecast for Wednesday will pack a wallop, says Environment Canada meteorologist Linda Libby.

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

Libby says they are monitoring a number of weather models, including those issued from the United States and Europe, and none of them indicate there is any chance this blizzard misses Prince Edward Island.

Right now, Environment Canada says the entire province can expect at least 25 centimetres but chances are good that as much as 45 centimetres could fall on the Island.

Flurries are expected to begin falling by 7 a.m. Wednesday with snow, at times very heavy, beginning around 11 a.m.

Winds are expected to pick up by Wednesday afternoon, gusting at “90-plus kilometres’’. Libby said the winds could gust in excess of 100 kilometres in Charlottetown and central regions.

Wind speeds are expected to stay strong overnight, not diminishing until 9 a.m. Thursday. The strongest winds are expected between 9 p.m. and midnight Wednesday.

Temnperatures are expected to hover around -2 to -3 with wind chills around -13 on Wednesday.

Libby said people are advised to seek shelter and stay there. Those who decide to head to work Wednesday morning before it gets bad need to understand “there is no guarantee you will get home until the next day.’’

There is a chance, for the eastern part of P.E.I., that there could be rain mixed in with Wednesday’s blizzard. Libby said they could get 30-40 cm of snow turning to 10 millimetres of rain by 8 p.m. Wednesday and then back to snow.

They are monitoring another system heading for the Maritimes for Saturday but this one could be rain with temperatures expected to rise to 10 degrees Celsius. The problem, of course, is it all that snow is going to melt “before people have a chance to clear all the drains around the house’’.

Organizations: Environment Canada

Geographic location: United States, Europe, Prince Edward Island Charlottetown

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