Travel not recommended as strong nor'easter hits Atlantic Canada

A Valentine's Day snowstorm has prompted school closures and travel delays across parts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Drivers urged to plan ahead with dangerous travel expected through Wednesday

A strong nor’easter, which is named for the powerful, northeasterly winds that hammer coastal communities, has arrived in Atlantic Canada after plowing through the U.S. Northeast with significant snowfall Tuesday.

Heavy snow is pushing across the East Coast through Thursday, with 10-50+ cm expected by the time all is said and done. Couple that with gusty winds, and travel will remain dangerous throughout the day on Wednesday. As of Tuesday night, road conditions deteriorated quickly across central Nova Scotia, with many accidents and delays reported in the Halifax area.

EXPLAINER: What is a nor'easter, exactly?

Winter storm warnings remained in effect across parts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland early Wednesday.

Several schools opted to close their doors first thing Wednesday morning, including Halifax, N.S., where all schools were closed. Widespread closures spanned Newfoundland as well.

Wednesday: Snow winds down in Nova Scotia, dangerous blizzard conditions across Newfoundland

Conditions began to deteriorate quickly Tuesday night across Nova Scotia, as the nor'easter tracked south of the Maritimes. Before dawn on Wednesday, nearly 30 cm of snow was already reported at the Halifax airport, with 7 cm of it falling in just one hour. Drivers were urged to avoid traveling.

Halifax Transit pulled its buses off the roads on Tuesday night as well, but service resumed as of Wednesday morning, as the snow began to wind down.

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Flurries will linger through the first half of the day for Cape Breton, however, with RCMP suggesting people remain off the roads. Especially after just one week ago, 100+ cm of snow buried the region. Cape Breton Regional Municipality cancelled transit service Wednesday, with all schools closed, as well.

WATCH: Winter storm warnings remained in effect across Newfoundland

Wednesday will be another dangerous day on the roads across Newfoundland.

Snow developed for Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula through the overnight Tuesday, picking up in intensity pretty quickly. Blizzard conditions and nearly half a metre of snow are forecast through Thursday. Travel is not recommended.

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Storm surge a threat to coastal Newfoundland sections

Impacts from storm surge are also expected in parts of Newfoundland, including coastal flooding, beach erosion, minor infrastructure damage, spread of coastal debris, and localized coastal road washouts.

Locations: Cape Spear to Deadman's Bay, especially northeast-facing shorelines.

Maximum water levels: exceeding high astronomical tide, with water inundating vulnerable sections of coastline.

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Maximum wave heights: 5 to 7 metres, breaking upon approach to shore.

Time: Wednesday evening/overnight (worst near high tide, which occurs from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. local time)

Snowfall rates will top 3-5 cm/h, paired with wind gusts of 60-80 km/h, which will create very dangerous conditions. Near zero visibility and blizzard conditions are expected southeast of Gander, including St. John’s.

The nor’easter is forecast to reach the deepest low pressure late Wednesday and into Thursday morning, as the centre of the low passes by the Avalon. This will fuel the very strong winds and blizzard conditions.

Snowfall will continue Thursday, but primarily for the northern coast, adding more snow to the heavy accumulations from Wednesday.

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As the low tracks close to the Avalon, some warmer air can move onto the Avalon, bringing the threat of a brief wintry mix. It will slightly limit, albeit still high, snowfall totals here. Between 30-50+ cm is possible for northeastern Newfoundland and along the Trans-Canada Highway.

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BEWARE: Towering snow piles could lead to very expensive problems you didn't see coming

This will likely be the biggest snowfall of the entire season for St. John’s, with the previous high occurring on Jan. 5, 2024 with 23 cm of daily snowfall.

2024 will continue St. John’s three-year Valentine's Day snowstorm streak, as well, with this event possibly cracking into the top two or three as 35-40+cm is forecast.

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Make sure to keep checking back to The Weather Network for forecast updates and impact information across the Atlantic provinces.

WATCH: What exactly is a weather bomb, anyway?