Island continues to dig out

Colin MacLean
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Snow drifts on some secondary roads were significant.

Mid-week storm worst of the season: Environment Canada

SUMMERSIDE - This week's blizzard was the worst storm of the season, so far, according to Environment Canada.

Linda Libby, a Charlottetown-based meteorologist with the national weather service, said the most recent storm system brought 53 centimetres of snow to the Charlottetown airport, and gusts of 110km/h winds to Summerside and North Cape.

Two weather systems that hit close together on Feb. 19 and 20 came close to matching Thursday's storm, however, this one was the single largest in terms of snowfall, said Libby.

Unfortunately for Islanders, she added, there is at least one more storm system moving into the area for Sunday afternoon.

That storm is expected to bring between 15 and 30 cm of snow to most of the Island, along with 50-60 km/h winds.

Nothing like this week's blizzard, said Libby, but still an unwelcome addition to this spring.

“I sent that off to my email contacts and I got some less than favourable responses,” she said.

But before Islanders could start worrying about the next storm, they had to dig out from Wednesday's.

Snowplows were not moving for most of the night and into Thursday morning, which meant residents were largely stuck at home for most of the day.

Prince County snowplow dispatcher Sean McNally said plows had been out on secondary roads in the county since around 1 p.m. but they were being greatly challenged by conditions.

The snow might have stopped and the wind dropped off but drivers were still finding conditions to be treacherous.

Not only were they encountering snowdrifts up to 10 feet high, but roads are filling back in behind the plows, he said.

Besides dealing with huge snow drifts, some plows had been diverted from their routes to assist Maritime Electric crews responding to power outages and helping emergency crews reach people in need.

At one point during the height of the storm, some 16,000 Maritime Electric customers, including many in Prince Couty, were without power. Crews were still working to get everyone hooked back up as of Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, RCMP begged people to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary right up until early Thursday afternoon.

Prince County RCMP Const. Dwayne Pardy said anyone out on the roads during the whiteout conditions was putting their lives and the lives of first responders at risk.

"But really, where does everyone else have to be today? They don’t have to be anywhere. Not unless they have to go to a hospital. Even the smaller doctor’s offices, they’re all closed because the doctors can’t even get to their places of business yet," he said.

Organizations: Environment Canada, Maritime Electric, RCMP Prince County RCMP Const.

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Summerside, North Cape Prince Couty

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