UPDATED: Latest storm forecast and warnings

Colin MacLean
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SUMMERSIDE - Due to the deteriorating road conditions Island RCMP are warning drivers to stay off the highways unless absolutely necessary.

 

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SUMMERSIDE – Blizzard warning for Prince County.As of 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, Environment Canada has forecasted blizzard conditions for Prince County today.

Near-zero visibility is expected in the region once snow starts later in the morning today and become flurries overnight.

Northeast winds will steadily increase during the day and will gust up to 110 km/h by this evening. These very strong winds combined with heavy snow will cause widespread whiteout conditions in blowing snow.

In general 30 cm to 50 cm of snow is expected across the island however given the extensive blowing and drifting snow there could be significant variability in snow amounts received within any forecast region.


Additionally higher than normal water levels are expected later tonight mainly on the north shore. This may combine with increasing wave activity to give local flooding along parts of the shore. If forecast conditions worsen a storm surge warning may be required.

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Maritime Bus routes are canceled today, except the Halifax Airport Express. 

The City of Summerside closing all non essential services as of 1:30 p.m.

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SUMMERSIDE – Islanders should probably just stay home Wednesday, suggests Linda Libby.

Libby, an Evironment Canada Meteorologist based in Charlottetown, said her latest projections suggested that Wednesday’s much talked about storm would get underway at about 9 a.m.

The snow will start out light at about that time, she said, before deteriorating severely by mid-morning.

“Travel for (Wednesday) should be out of the question for everybody,” said Libby.

“The important thing to is that just because you can get someplace doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to get home. You want to be in the best place possible when the worst conditions are expected.”

Most of P.E.I. is expected to get between 30 cm and 40 cm of snow, or more. The only exception could be West Prince, which may receive about 25 cm of snow, however, that area is also expected to get some of the strongest winds.

Snow and blowing snow are expected to continue throughout the day Wednesday.

Libby said the falling snow will have stopped by 9 a.m. Thursday, however, blowing snow will continue to be a factor well into the day.

“With the wind, the conditions outside may not appear to be significantly better for anybody,” she said.

Winds are expected to pick up across the island by mid-morning, starting from the east to northeast at 40-50 km/h. However, by noon to about 3 p.m. Thursday winds are expected to pick up to the 70 km/h range and deteriorating throughout the day.

The day’s strongest winds will blow through the Island between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m., with gusts reaching 110km/h in some locations.

The storm surge is also expected to be significant, she said, though it is not expected to peak during high tide.

Libby cautioned Islanders to respect this weather system, which she said could produce the biggest storm of the winter season, so far.

“It’s a big storm, it’s going to be significant. It may not be a White Juan, which was a once in 20 years type storm, but certainly this looks like it could be the worst storm of the winter for us,” she said.  

Meanwhile, the  P.E.I. Office of Public Safety issued a number preventative warnings for the storm.

They are:

• Emergency preparedness begins at home. Be prepared to cope on your own for at least 72 hours so first responders can focus on those in urgent need.

• Ensure you have supplies on hand, such as medications and special care supplies, non perishable food, and a manual can opener.

• Prepare a three-day supply of water – at least two litres per person per day. Have extra food and water on hand for pets and consider keeping them indoors, if possible.

• Cordless phones need electricity to operate. Keep at least one corded phone in your home so you can make emergency calls.

• Have a hand crank or battery operated radio and flashlight with spare batteries nearby so you can hear updates on weather, travel and utility outages.

• If you live near the coast, be prepared for storm surge and potential flooding.

• Travel may not be possible for one or more days. Listen to local weather reports and check road conditions by calling 5-1-1, or go to www.511.gov.pe.ca

• As soon as possible, shovel out your 911 sign. Emergency responders can’t help you if they can’t find you.

• Home fires can be a greater risk during a storm, when people are using candles for lighting or wood burning appliances.

• Maintain a three-foot clearance around heating equipment such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or generator.

• Always keep burning candles within sight. Extinguish lit candles before leaving a room or going to bed. Consider using flameless battery operated candles instead.

• Never use a portable generator inside a home, garage or crawlspace, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation.

 To learn more about emergency preparedness, or to download a copy of the 72 Hour Emergency Preparedness Guide which has checklists and templates for personal emergency planning, go to www.peipublicsafety.ca or call EMO at 894-0385.

 

Organizations: P.E.I. Office of Public Safety, Hour Emergency Preparedness Guide

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Iceland

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