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Atlantic Canada | Third nor'easter

Most intense nor'easter of ongoing series cripples Maritimes

Staff Writers

Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 5:36 PM - The third and most damaging nor'easter in a series of three to blast Atlantic Canada within a week took a crippling toll on the Maritimes. The storm knocked out power to thousands and forced snow plows to be pulled off the roads. In New Brunswick, ALL schools were closed. Impact was felt as far as Ontario and Quebec.

SHOCKING STORM FOOTAGE: Nor'easter number 3, by far the worst of the lot

Watch Below: Satellite imagery of the storm 

The details of the storm (published March 14)

What's left to come: Snow 

An additional 15-25+ cm of snow is expected in the hardest hit areas of New Brunswick with some passing snowfall across P.E.I. and Nova Scotia.

"[A total of] 30 to 50 centimetres are forecast over eastern regions, but areas near the Gulf of St. Lawrence coast could receive amounts in excess of 50 centimetres," says Environment Canada in a winter storm warning in effect for New Brunswick. "Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations. Visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow."

Snow will persist for much of the day across P.E.I. with an additional 10 cm possible through Thursday.

"And then our next system moving in on Thursday takes a shot at P.E.I., Cape Breton and eastern Nova Scotia," says Weather Network meteorologist Erin Wenckstern.

This second pulse of the system moves into eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton late Wednesday night with 5-10 cm of snow possible along with the risk of freezing rain for Cape Breton.

Storm surge

High storm surge levels and large waves have been impacting most of the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia.

VIDEO: Weather reporter braves Nor'easter:

There's also a risk of localized flooding during high tides as well as coastal erosion and damage from heavy, pounding surf.

"Especially as some of these same coastal areas were already affected by similar conditions last week," EC says.

The IMPACT: Power outages, school closures, treacherous travel

The winds by far have been the biggest story across Nova Scotia with a hurricane force gust over 140 km/h reported in Grand Etang. The city of Halifax has also recorded a gust near 120 km/h. Around 56,000 were without power in the province on Tuesday night, but that number dropped to near 11,000 by Wednesday evening. Nova Scotia Power says they have restored more than 70,000 customers since the first outages began around noon on Tuesday.

"Crews have made progress getting power back to our customers despite challenging conditions,” said Sean Borden, Nova Scotia Power’s Storm Lead in a press release on Wednesday. "Reduced visibility and high winds resulted in periods where crews had to pause restoration efforts until it was safe to continue work. Crews worked through the night to get affected customers back on as quickly as it was safe to do so." 

Nova Scotia Power activated its emergency operations centre Monday night in advance of the storm. Over 700 people are dedicated to the system, including powerline technicians, forestry crews, damage assessors, engineers, wiring inspectors and safety specialists.

SEE ALSO: It's been a rough few days for power outages

Power outages are also ongoing in New Brunswick and the impact from the storm forced all schools to close on Wednesday. Power crews say poor road conditions and strong winds have been a challenge for restoration efforts. 

Reduced visibility in areas of blowing snow is making a mess of the roads. Officials say travel is not recommended on the Trans-Canada Highway between Perth Andover and Longs Creek.

159 year old church steeple damaged

An historic church in downtown Halifax has been significantly damaged due to the storm. Pieces of stone from St. Matthew's United Church covered the sidewalk in the area after winds caused the steeple to crash to the ground. 

Barrington Street was closed between Spring Garden Road and Bishop Street as crews stabilized the damaged steeple, the CBC reports. A homeless shelter in the basement of the church also had to be moved to another location due to the damage. 

WATCH: Historic church in downtown Halifax damaged during nor'easter

Newfoundland is next, heavy rain and wind

A rainfall warning was issued for Newfoundland's south shore for up to 30 mm of rain possible through Thursday.

"Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads," warns EC. "Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible."

Strong winds and mild temperatures accompanying the rain will also lead to significant snowmelt and runoff. Therefore, efforts should be made to clear storm drains in advance of this thaw.

Winds will be gusting to 100 km/h for the south Avalon with gusts up to 140 km/h possible for areas in the southwest.

Wind gusts are expected to briefly ease Wednesday night before intensifying once again with a second pulse from this storm.

"The stormy pattern continues for eastern North America this week and the pattern producing all these east coast storms doesn’t look to break until the end of this week," says Weather Network meteorologist Dayna Vettese. "It looks like another storm system will form off the cold front of this nor’easter and will move into the region for Thursday."

This next storm will track out to sea then cut back west to impact Newfoundland and the Cape Breton area.

Be sure to check back as we continue to update the weather impact from these storms.

WATCH BELOW: Camera gets knocked over by winds during Atlantic nor'easter

SEE ALSO: East Coast storm reaches peak intensity, but still a "formidable beast"

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