Prince Edward Island braces for storm

Ryan Ross
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Islanders are stocking up on necessities in anticipation of the major storm slated to hit the province Wednesday.

It may be spring, but P.E.I.'s office of public safety is warning Islanders that the winter weather isn't over yet.

Tanya Mullally, the provincial emergency management co-ordinator, said the storm expected to hit P.E.I. on Wednesday has the potential to have a longer, more severe impact than those in the winter.

Most people are prepared for winter weather, but may not be as ready for significant storms like the one headed toward P.E.I., Mullally said.

"The storm might pass relatively quickly but how fast can life come back to normal?"

Wednesday's storm is expected to bring heavy snow starting late in the morning with the possibility of more than 50 centimetres falling in some parts of P.E.I.

Environment Canada has issued a blizzard warning with the possibility of wind gusts of up to 80 km/h throughout the day and reaching 100 km/h Wednesday night.

Temperatures are expected to stay around -2 to -3 throughout the day with wind chills around -13.

Mullally said the public safety office started its preparations Tuesday, including reaching out to its operations team members, such as Maritime Electric, and alerting the public to the storm's potential impact.

"We wanted to make sure that people recognize that this may not be the more routine Wednesday event for us," she said.

Although the provincial emergency operations centre may not be manned right away, Mullally said there will be a duty officer ready to respond and help coordinate with other agencies if needed.

When the storm does hit, power outages are a possibility and Maritime Electric spokeswoman Kim Griffin said the utility is doing extra preparatory work, such as refueling vehicles and making sure all of the employees who might need to respond are ready.

"For us we'll be making sure that if there are any outages we'll be out on the road as soon as it's safe to do so to restore power," she said.

With the storm expected to hit across the entire Island, Griffin said Maritime Electric has crews spread out around the province and can reroute them to problem areas if needed.

"They're spread out so that the Island is covered and so that we have people within a reasonable distance to respond quickly."

In Charlottetown, the city said in a news release that its snowplowing services, police and fire stations were ready for the storm.

Since a heavy snowfall is expected, the city also asked people to make sure their vehicles were removed from the streets to allow for snow clearing.

When it comes to clearing snow outside of Charlottetown, Darren Chaisson, P.E.I.'s director of highway maintenance, said like any other storm staff were on standby and vehicles were fuelled up.

"We're just ready to react," he said.

Although the storm is hitting in the spring, Chaisson said the department was fully staffed and equipment was still ready.

"We just know with the weather we've been having there's been no indication that winter's going to let up so we haven't made the transition to spring or summer operations yet."

Chaisson said that transition usually comes in April and government contracts don't end until April 15.

As the storm approaches, Chaisson said the department staff will be watching the forecast.

"We'll just be out until it becomes too dangerous to be out there."

Despite all of the warnings, the storm wasn't worrying everyone in P.E.I. with some shoppers at a Charlottetown grocery store saying they weren't treating it differently than past storms.

Nancy Allen said she didn't plan to do much to get ready other than go home and prepare a few meals.

"I love cooking so it's a good excuse," she said.

Although she hoped the storm didn't end up being as bad as expected, Allen said she had candles and a propane fireplace so she didn't mind if the power goes out.

"Cozy up."

Kirk Gallant was also stocking up on a few supplies, but said it was his normal grocery day anyway so he wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary.

With candles and a deck of cards ready at home, Gallant said he wasn't too worried about the storm.

"It is what it is."

The storm may also lead to delays in delivery of The Guardian newspapers and flyers Wednesday and Thursday. The Guardian's business office will be closed Wednesday. 

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: Maritime Electric, Environment Canada

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, P.E.I., Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • doug
    March 26, 2014 - 07:47

    A big thank you to the Maritime Electric crews in advance.

  • James
    March 25, 2014 - 22:16

    Well if this doesn't get me a day off hopefully the ebola will.

  • Joe Doe
    March 25, 2014 - 21:10

    I GUESS THIS IS THE BIG ONE FOLKS,IT WAS REAL GOOD KNOWING YOU ALL.