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PHOTOS: Potent winter blast brings eastern Newfoundland to a standstill

Friday, January 22nd 2021, 4:00 pm - A quick, but potent storm has dropped 25+ cm of snow over eastern Newfoundland, with strong winds creating dangerous blizzard-like conditions.

Winter storm warnings were lifted across Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula Friday morning, but blowing snowing and difficult travel lingered through much of the morning, thanks to strong winds.

The storm packed a real punch as it ramped up across the region on Thursday, prompting many schools in the St. John's area to close several hours ahead of regular dismissal time. Classes didn't resume on Friday morning either, as schools and several municipal buildings delayed their openings until 10 a.m. The City of St. John's closed its facilities at 2 p.m. on Thursday, with Metrobus stopping services at 5 p.m.

By Thursday afternoon and early evening, impressive snowfall rates of 2-3 cm per hour were reported in St. John's, making for near impossible travel amid the quickly accumulating snow. By the early morning hours on Friday, 25 cm of snow had already been reported at St. John's International Airport, with snowfall totals continuing to climb.

LOOK BACK: Revisiting how St. John's began 2020, see the snowstorm that engulfed the city

The howling winds, with gusts up to to 80 km/h, caused dangerous blizzard-like conditions into Friday morning, prompting authorities to pull snow plows from many Avalon highways "due to whiteout conditions and for the safety of plow operators." A number of travel warnings were also in effect for highways throughout the region by Thursday night. A 24-hour parking restriction began at 6 p.m. in St. John's on Thursday, in an effort to allow for easy and safe snow removal through the day on Friday. Provincial plows were back on the roads Friday morning.

By early Friday, drivers were still being urged to consider postponing any non-essential travel however, as the strong winds will continue to cause reduced visibility in blowing snow. Snow totals in some areas could officially reach 30-40 cm by the time all is said and done, making this the biggest brush with heavy snow since last year's crippling blizzard. Conditions will continue to gradually improve through the day on Friday, as the snow ends and the winds die off.

Here's a look at how Thursday's quick, but potent storm unravelled over eastern Newfoundland, and some of the aftermath on Friday:

Be sure to check back as we continue to monitor the active storm set-up across Atlantic Canada.

Thumbnail image courtesy: Claudette B

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