P.E.I. sees first major winter blast

Mitch MacDonald, The Guardian
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Conditions expected to remain nasty on Monday

A major storm may have hindered many Islanders but was not enough to grind the province to a halt as Prince Edward Island received its first major blast of winter weather Sunday.

Blistering winds and snow caused whiteout conditions, creating a snag for many as a low-pressure system moved across the province, leaving a wake of event cancellations and traffic restrictions in its path.

Environment Canada meteorologist Cindy Vallis said as of early Sunday evening, Charlottetown had seen 16 centimetres of snow, while the auto-station at St. Peters showed approximately 11 centimetres.

“But it’s hard to get a concrete amount because there is so much wind causing a lot of drifting,” said Vallis, noting it appeared the large system had spread snow more or less evenly across the province.

“Right now, the heaviest snow looks like it has moved across the province.”

The snow may not have been extreme on its own without the combination of wind creating blowing snow, which led to Air Canada flight cancellations and ferry crossings to be halted.

East Point had the highest recorded winds, with gusts reaching up to 85 km/h in the early evening.

Vallis said winds across the province were expected to continue overnight as the snowfall was forecasted to taper to flurries before midnight.

“The wind is going to remain quite strong. Right now, we’re looking at gusts in the 60 to 70 km/h range (for today),” said Vallis. “Those are the winds we’re kind of expecting.”

Despite the whiteout conditions and RCMP cautions advising individuals to stay off the roads, many took time to venture out in the nasty weather.

Charlottetown saw heavy traffic throughout the day, and while most events in town were postponed or cancelled, shopping centres remained open for those who made their way in.

Ron Quesnel and Francine Giroux of downtown Charlottetown were two who didn’t mind making the short venture from their home to the Atlantic Superstore.

“I enjoy the winter, I like the cold,” said Giroux during an interview with The Guardian. “It’s fresh, it’s white, it’s beautiful. I don’t like too much shovelling though.”

“I do the shovelling,” Quesnel added. “She supports me.”

While those needing groceries made their way out, some others had ventured into the storm to get some exercise.

Even as winds and snow picked up around lunchtime, many individuals could be seen walking on the Victoria Park boardwalk.

Others had no choice but to venture into the storm, such as Matt Petrie of Island Coastal.

Petrie was one crewmember working to clear snow from the Superstore parking lot throughout the day.

“I don’t mind it,” said Petrie of working in the freezing temperatures. “It’s actually not too bad.”

While the nasty weather didn’t start until around noon Sunday, the forecasted winter storm was a weekend affair for many.

Streets in Charlottetown were packed Saturday with both Christmas shoppers and storm preppers purchasing shovels, water, and anything else that could come in handy during a possible power outage.

Those items could continue to come in handy today, as Vallis said another five to 10 centimetres of snow is expected.

Along with the snow, Vallis said Islanders can also expect strong westerly winds on Monday with gusts up to at least 60 km/h as the low-pressure system moves over Newfoundland.

While those conditions will likely ensure Islanders have to deal with blowing snow today, Vallis said Environment Canada would likely end its weather warning late Sunday night.

“But it’s going to depend on the winds,” she said. “Everyone should continue to monitor Environment Canada warnings and updates to see how conditions progress.”

Organizations: Environment Canada

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Southern United States, East Coast United States Cape Breton

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Recent comments

  • don
    December 15, 2013 - 18:11

    i applaud the business's that closed all day to protect the safety of there staff. i can see a drug store opening as that is medical but a drunk store thats sick. and to the rest that opened just in case you may make a buck shame what about the safety of your staff?

  • Piet Hein
    December 15, 2013 - 14:04

    I am not a Boomer fan but for all you morons (Billy and Don the double double twins and many others) out there mocking him get your facts right. He said earlier in the week Environment Canada said the storm could miss us. Accuweather in the United States said the same thing. Later in the week (thursday and Friday) he was saying we were going to be hit. Peter Coade also said it might miss us. Gallant has never claimed he is a meteorologist and he gets his weather from Environment Canada, the same as many other weather watchers. I also think I hear a touch of jealousy in some of the comments about Gallant. He has all the hallmarks some Island losers hate - he is an Islander, well known and successful.

  • Scott
    December 15, 2013 - 10:57

    This will probably never get approved but, oh my god shut the hell up, all everyone does on here is bitch and whine. Sit back, relax and enjoy the stormy sunday.

    • Christmas season
      December 15, 2013 - 13:48

      DITTO, Scott, I was thinking exactly what you said. your life is not wrapped with a bow, but it is a gift...enjoy it.

  • Guy with the shovel
    December 15, 2013 - 10:43

    Oh please, yeah, blame Boomer, he's your guy This never would have happened if he said it, let me me dig you out of your glass house when the sun comes out tomorrow, lol

  • Brain the size of a Tim Bit . . .
    December 15, 2013 - 10:23

    It's Sunday, going on 12 o'clock . . . Sporting events, churches mostly all cancelled. Stores mostly all open. Visibility getting bad but I think I'll get a Tim's, check things out for myself. Sound familiar?

    • Tim Bit Brain's Back!
      December 15, 2013 - 13:20

      Whew, 2:16 - just got back, me and the better half out for a tad over two hours. Got our Tim's (her Starbucks) and most of my Holiday shopping done; stores almost empty, great service from happy sellers, saw two big SUV's off the road on the bypass - what's that about? Sittin' by the fire now with a warm toddy - life's good.

  • Billy
    December 14, 2013 - 13:50

    The great boomer. Could'nt call the races either. Gave up on his high pitched rant long ago. CTV and CBC Halifax at 6 PM for where it is at.

  • don
    December 14, 2013 - 12:20

    what happened BOOMER said it was going to miss us. the great boomer LOL. PLEASE get a real weatherman.

    • nicolle
      December 14, 2013 - 14:10

      Apparently you dont watch every day. Yesterday he was talking about this.

    • don
      December 15, 2013 - 10:22

      yes i watch every day but his weather reports i do not ever believe any of it. but he a joke to watch.