Clean up remains from weekend blizzard
The blizzard which paralyzed P.E.I. for most of the weekend finally eased late Sunday, but much of the clean up remains from the most powerful winter storm to pound the province in more than three years.
The intense low pressure system struck just before dawn Saturday, dumping approximately 30 cm of snow across the Island, and combined with winds gusting to over 80 km/h, shut down the province for two days.
The system approached from the southwest Friday and saw northeasterly winds in full force by Saturday morning with gusts of up to 90 km/h. Those winds persisted into Sunday and caused blizzard conditions, with Environment Canada issuing blowing snow warnings for most of the weekend.
Environment Canada meteorologist Andy Firth said conditions were similar across all three counties in the province.
"Obviously across the Island there are differences, but it (accumulation) was around the 30 cms mark," said Firth during an interview with The Guardian.
There was even brief periods of freezing drizzle thrown in although temperatures remained well below freezing.
The wind caused some areas to remain bare of snow, while others were covered in four-feet plus drifts.
With areas in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick receiving 30 to 50 cm of accumulation, P.E.I.'s experience was similar, said Firth.
"P.E.I. kind of got the medium of what everyone was getting," he said. "There was certainly a lot of blowing snow and drifting snow."
Plows had difficulty keeping snow off the roads, as winds would quickly fill highways back into impassable drifts.
RCMP advised motorists not to drive throughout the weekend, as the combination of powder and winds also created white-outs.
The poor driving conditions led to many weekend events being cancelled or postponed.
The major cancellation was the Chinese New Year celebration, scheduled for the Trade Centre in Charlottetown on Sunday with more than 700 guests expected. The Tankard provincial men's curling championship postponed draws on Saturday and Sunday in Crapaud. It will continue Monday with six teams still in play.
Despite the warnings to stay off the road, certain businesses opened including the Oak Tree liquor store in Charlottetown.
Other Islanders ventured out into the blizzard on their own, although most to just get a glimpse of the weather or shovel their driveway. Several snowmobiles were sighted Saturday cruising through a deserted downtown Charlottetown.
By Sunday evening, all that remained of the blizzard was some light drifting.
"Skies will be clearing (overnight) and we'll be waiting for the next little system," said Firth.
Blowing snow warnings were lifted in Prince and Queens counties by mid-afternoon Sunday but remained for Kings.
P.E.I. escaped without any power outages, unlike its neighboring Maritime Provinces which experienced a number of widespread disruptions.
Firth said more bad weather is coming soon as Islanders can expect increasing cloudiness throughout Monday.
Snow will then develop Monday evening with another five to 10 cm of accumulation expected.
"That will turn to rain Tuesday morning," said Firth, "And then probably back to some flurries before it's all done."
Firth said he's not predicting a "whole lot of rain," although he did expect some melting.
"We'll have to see. Hopefully the rain clears some of the snow so the melting of the rain has somewhere to go," he said.