PHOTOS: 'Blockbuster' East Coast storm is bringing historic snowfall

The epic, multi-day snowfall event continues to weigh down parts of the East Coast Sunday, with totals expected to reach record-setting levels in Cape Breton, N.S.

An unusual, stalling low-pressure system dancing off the coast of Nova Scotia is bringing the highest snowfall totals seen in two decades for a big swath of Atlantic Canada.

A low-pressure system has hit the pause button and is stalling just southeast of Sable Island for 48 hours. An Arctic high over Labrador is supplying the cold air, resulting in a blockbuster snowfall event for those in the eastern Maritimes and central Newfoundland.

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Confidence is greatest that Cape Breton and parts of Newfoundland will see the most substantial snowfall totals by the time snow finally stops early this week.

As a result, more than 4,400 Nova Scotia Power customers are in the dark as of Sunday morning. That will likely fluctuate through the duration of the storm.

There have also been numerous road, school and business closures in Atlantic Canada, as well. Transit and flight delays and cancellations have occurred, too, as a result of the marathon snow. The Nova Scotia government and RCMP are urging people to stay off the roads, unless their travel is essential.

Besides the road closures, there have also been numerous collisions reported.

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Cape Breton Regional Municipality has declared a local state of emergency for the next seven days due to the overwhelming amount of snow.

There have also been widespread school closure announcements across Nova Scotia for Monday as it is unlikely the snow will be cleared in time.

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Preliminary snowfall totals as of 2 p.m. local time Sunday include more than 55 cm at Halifax airport, more than 70 cm in Sydney and more than 50 cm in Charlottetown. However, there are reports around Sydney of even greater snowfall. The airport could have inaccurate totals with blowing and drifting snow, and using melted snow.

Sydney, Antigonish, New Glasgow and eastern P.E.I. have seen snowfall rates as high as 2-3 centimetres an hour and blizzard conditions.

Maritimes snowfall recorded amounts Sunday afternoon Feb 4 2024

A heavy band of snowfall first set up along Nova Scotia Saturday, creating dangerously low visibility and heavy snowfall rates. Exposed sections of coastline were forecast to see winds exceeding 70 km/h.

Cape Breton, N.S., is forecast to see some of the worst conditions, with heavy snow and wind gusts of 50-70 km/h, creating blizzard conditions. Winds in Newfoundland are expected to hit 60-80 km/h.

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Bands of locally heavy snowfall pulled into central Newfoundland Saturday afternoon, along with gusty northeasterly winds, but the Avalon has been, and will be, largely spared from significant impacts.

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Maritimes Tuesday AM snow outlook Feb 4 2024 PM update

Snow was beginning to pile up in Sydney, with over half a metre reported through Sunday morning, with locally higher amounts documented. An additional 50+ cm of snow is forecast for the area, meaning this is likely going to be the most significant snowfall event in recorded history for Cape Breton.

East of Truro, along Highway 104, is where the totals really pile up past half a metre of snowfall. Travel will be impossible throughout the region on Sunday with intense drifts and zero visibility.

The Cape Breton region, including Sydney, and Glace Bay, is forecast to have more than 100 cm of snowfall accumulation. With these snowfall rates forecast, a long-duration blizzard is likely to linger through much of Sunday.

When all is said and done, some regions are likely to record up to 150 cm of snowfall accumulation in localized spots.

NL wind and snow forecast Sunday PM Feb 4 2024

Although the Avalon is a tricky forecast with two waves of snowfall forecast for St. John’s, resulting in more than 20 cm of snow forecast through Tuesday. Farther inland, and west along the Trans-Canada Highway, expect 20-40 cm of snow from Gander to Deer Lake.

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The storm will eventually weaken and depart the area later Tuesday.

Below is a selection of visuals of the prolonged storm circulating on social media.