A winter storm pounded P.E.I. Wednesday, the second this week and more is yet to come.
Environment Canada reported that by 5:30 p.m. Wednesday there was an estimate of 20 centimetres of snow at Charlottetown airport, 22 cm in St. Peters, and 13 cm in Summerside.
Now forecasters are looking to Sunday.
“It looks like there will be a frontal system approaching from the west that will bring some snow that would start Saturday with the bulk of the system approaching Saturday night,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Gelas Duguay.
“On Sunday, if that front moves further north the snow would change to ice pellet or freezing rain, maybe even to rain if the system moves a little bit further north.
“It is still too early to say where the front will lie but it could be an extended period of ice pellets or freezing rain with that system, or significant snow.”
Winds could be cold and strong from the northeast, or, if the front moves more to the north, it would instead bring relatively warmer southwesterly winds, said Duguay.
On Wednesday the Island hesitated for a moment in the early morning when good conditions prevailed, but shut down when the first real snow began to fall about 9 a.m.
Schools, government and many offices closed but not all retail ground to a halt.
Shoppers were out in the earlier parts of the day, but the high winds and heavier snow that arrived by afternoon created major whiteouts.
"I'm getting a bit of business,” said Paul Nickerson of Barrington, Nova Scotia who was selling lobster and fish from the back of his truck at the Montague Irving gas station on the Main Street. “Seems people still like to pick up some seafood. I’m surprised there are so many people out in this storm."
"There's still people coming in for things,'' said Montague Sobeys employee Mona Peardon.
Fisherman Ronnie Fox made it into Montague for a quick shop.
"You can't see a thing out in the country...I'm lucky I have a truck."
The white-out conditions prompted police to warn Islanders to stay off the roads.
In the day’s most serious accident, an 18-year-old snowmobiler was killed when his machine hit a tree in western Prince County.
By late afternoon, East Prince RCMP reported several incidences of cars sliding off the roads and another minor accident with no injuries.
A spokesperson called road conditions, “deplorable at best and only getting worse,” noting although plows were still out on the road late in the afternoon they weren’t sure how long they would continue to do so.
Cancellations started coming early in the morning. Both the English and French Language school boards issued system-wide shut downs before their students were even out of their beds Wednesday, and all Holland College campuses, along with the University of P.E.I., shut its doors for the day.
A system-wide closure means not even staff were expected to open school offices.
Most businesses either did not open or closed their doors by late morning.
Summerside’s largest recreational complex – Credit Union Place – shut its doors by 1 p.m., and the Summerside Western Capitals game that was to go at 7:30 p.m. against the Amherst Ramblers was postponed.
Harbourfront Theatre shut its doors, Summerside Transit buses were pulled off the roads and, further west, the storm prompted the postponement of the O’Leary Community Health Foundation’s annual memorial tree lighting ceremony until Thursday at 7 p.m. at Community Hospital.
Today’s forecast is more promising, with a mix of sun and cloud, winds west of 20 kilometres per hour gusting to 40 and a high of -7 degrees Celsius.