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Right on cue, legend of Sheila's Brush doesn't disappoint

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By Digital writers
Thursday, March 17, 2016, 12:01 PM

In weather legend, Newfoundland recognizes a winter storm that falls near St. Patrick's Day as Sheila's Brush. That legend grows as Newfoundland is looking at 15-25 cm of snow by the time St. Paddy's Day is over this year.


"Sheila is related to Patrick in some way," says Environment Canada's David Phillips. "Now mystery has it, it's his wife or sister or mother or mistress or housekeeper."

The idea is that the storm is one of winter's last, and that Sheila is brushing the season (and snow) away.

"The legend is about the fact that after St.Patrick's Day, so from March 18th on, there is usually a sort of winter's last hur'rah," says Phillips.

This has been proven time and time again.


On St. Patrick's Day in 2008, the second of two powerful back-to-back storms roared across the province. Schools and businesses were shut down. In St. John's, even public transit was pulled off the road. Roads were completely blocked by snow. Gander saw 120 centimetres of snow - about a quarter of its average annual snowfall in about a week.

There is one tricky part to this legend though.

"It doesn't necessarily happen on March the 18th. It can happen in late March, April and even early May," explains Phillips.

There are some Newfoundlanders and even seal hunters who firmly believe in this and won't head out until they know Shelia's Brush storm has happened.


A winter storm warning is in place for parts of Newfoundland as a low pressure system tracks southeast of the Avalon Peninsula. This low will spread heavy snow across the Avalon and Burin Peninsulas starting Thursday night.

"Snowfall accumulations of 15 to 25 cm can be expected before the snow tapers off Friday morning," says Environment Canada. "Strong northeasterly winds will develop overnight tonight then shift to strong northwesterlies Friday morning resulting in poor visibilities in blowing snow."

Southern sections of the Avalon Peninsula could also see a mix of freezing rain at times.

Tune into The Weather Network on TV for continued updates on that system.


ODE TO SHEILA- By Chris Murphy

Sheila will come
and Sheila will go

Along the way, expect rain, ice
and certainly some snow.

And it's a foregone conclusion
that the wind is gonna blow.

So why does Sheila's Brush
come around every St. Patrick's Day or so?

It's because Sheila loves Newfoundland
don't you know.

But once Sheila's gone...
Spring is soon to show.

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