New system brings rain, freezing rain to Atlantic Canada
Monday, January 6, 2014, 8:45 -
STORM WATCH: Tune in on TV as we track the new system.
Atlantic Canadians are dealing with yet another blast of stormy conditions.
The same low pressure system that is bringing treacherous travel conditions to southern Ontario will intensify as it tracks northward into Quebec on Monday.
Flash freeze warnings have been issued for much of Newfoundland and are expected to remain in place through the night.
Over northern areas of the province, some snow is forecast with up to 10 cm possible before the precipitation changes to freezing rain.
"A sharp cold front will cross New Brunswick [Monday night] causing temperatures to plummet to well below freezing by Tuesday morning," Environment Canada says in a statement issued early Monday. "This rapid drop in temperatures overnight will cause rain and slush from [Monday's] mixed precipitation and mild temperatures to rapidly freeze likely causing very icy conditions to many areas of the province by Tuesday morning."
As a result, motorists are being urged to adjust their driving habits and travel plans accordingly.
"Nova Scotia will see rain through the duration of the system with the risk of freezing rain on Cape Breton," says Weather Network meteorologist Matt Grinter.
Between 15-30 mm of rain is expected in the hardest hit places through Tuesday.
In Newfoundland, a special weather statement has been issued, warning of freezing rain, rain and strong winds Monday night into Tuesday.
"Ice pellets and freezing rain are expected to spread across Newfoundland ahead of the warm front," EC says.
"The heaviest rain is expected over southern parts of the island and the higher elevations of the west coast, hence rainfall warnings have been issued for these areas. The combination of rain and mild temperatures may lead to significant snow melt, creating the possibility of localized flooding."
Meanwhile, Newfoundland crews were able to make progress restoring power to thousands of people left in the dark over the weekend.
The outages were triggered by a combination of cold weather, a fire at a terminal station and a power plant that went offline.
All schools throughout the island, including Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic, have been shut down until Wednesday as a result of the power shortages.
Officials say crews were able to make progress after homes and businesses were told to conserve energy.
By the early morning hours on Monday, power was restored for all but about 5,000 customers, down from the 30,000 earlier in the day.
"We're looking at customers in the province who use a lot of electricity ... and see if we can have access to that power over the next number of days until we get through this critical period,'' said Premier Kathy Dunderdale at a news conference in St. John's. "But everybody has a role to play in this. We need to become more mindful of energy conservation and we really need to focus on that over the next few days and the next number of weeks."
Newfoundland, as well as the Maritimes, suffered several days of severe winter weather in recent days, although the last major system to pass through the region hit Newfoundland the hardest, with almost 40 cm reported in St. John's, along with very still winds that drive down visibility and temperatures even after the worst of the storm moved out.
Offices and businesses were closed in many communities, flights were cancelled and transportation was disrupted.