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Western P.E.I. and Bonshaw area hardest hit in messy Jan. 9 storm

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Keith Tompkins had an important errand to run in Summerside Wednesday, so he got out the scraper and shovel and went to work cleaning up and clearing out his car.

Otherwise, he said, there was no way he’d be going anywhere in that weather.

That was Wednesday morning, when big snowflakes mixed with occasional ice pellets were inundating Summerside and the rest of Prince County.

SaltWire Network Meteorologist Cindy Day reported by 4 p.m. that about 18 centimetres of snow had fallen in the Wellington area, while Bonshaw was leading the pack at 31 cm.

Environment Canada said, as of 2 p.m., the Charlottetown Airport recorded around 10 cm. 

Schools across the Island were closed for the day in anticipation of the snow, which mostly got started as folks were getting ready to head off to work.

A lot of businesses either closed completely, many citing their employee’s safety as a top concern on their social media pages, or delayed opening.

Summerside Police Services tweeted early in the day, “Alright folks it’s a nice day to stay wherever you are. The roads are not worth driving on right now! Enjoy your storm day PEI. #stormchips

Contacted later in the day, Summerside Police Services reported that most drivers had heeded the warnings and stayed put. There were no incidents or accidents of note in Summerside related to Wednesday’s weather.

Prince District RCMP Staff Sgt. Derrick Hewitt reported a similar situation on Prince County roads overall.

“We haven’t received the calls we do some other times when it’s stormy. There are some days when it’s stormy when it seems to be one (accident) right after the other. Today is not one of those days – knock on wood,” said Hewitt.

Kensington Police also reported no incidents of note.

Mike Berrigan, the Department of Transportation superintendent for Prince County, said his crews were still dealing with blowing snow in West Prince as of 4 p.m., but that the Summerside area was mostly being hit by rain at that point.

The extra moisture was making the snow heavier and slowing down the clearing efforts, he said.

At that point, highways had been cleared, salted and sanded. Secondary roads had mostly all seen a plow at least once during the day, but there was still a lot of work to do to clear them completely.

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