With the recent frigid temperatures it should come as no surprise that P.E.I. is practically surrounded by ice.
Trevor Hodgson, superintendent of ice operations for the Canadian Coast Guard’s Ice Atlantic office, said ice covers the north, south and west sides of the province.
“Basically, the thicker ice is developing down off Charlottetown in the Northumberland Strait,’’ Hodgson said Wednesday. “Pretty much east of the Confederation Bridge we’re seeing the thicker grey, white ice up to about 30 centimetres thick.’’
Hodgson said it is unusual to see so much ice lining the north side of the province.
“Looking at our normal projections here, usually (in the) Northumberland Strait we’ll see a bit of ice fill in there. The stuff you’re seeing on the north side is spilling out of the Northumberland Strait. It’s sort of unusual for this time of year . . . we’d expect that to be ice free.’’
Hodgson expects the major winter storm that was forecast to hit P.E.I. Thursday and into today will hash most of the ice up and clear it away, leaving most province’s shores relatively ice free.
He said the ice that’s there now won’t serve as a buffer if a storm surge becomes an issue.
“It’s not strong enough, the ice we’re seeing there. For the first little bit it will dampen (the waves) but as it progresses that ice is going to get beat up pretty quickly. (It won’t act as a buffer) as much as you would like.’’
Despite the fact the storm will clear much of the ice away, Hodgson said it won’t take long to return.
“All that heat is out of the water column and it’s all cold water now because it’s shallow water. It will be freezing back just as quickly as you saw it come this time. You’ll see the same thing again once the storm goes through. It shouldn’t take too long.’’
As for the coast guard’s icebreaker, Henry Larsen, which docks in Charlottetown, Hodgson said it hasn’t been too busy.
“Pretty standard traffic. We’ve only had three taskings so far, (so) not a lot of movement in the area. It hasn’t put a lot of demand on our system yet.’’