Environment Canada has continued a winter storm warning for P.E.I. as a fast-moving severe storm begins to take hold of the province.
Just before 5 p.m., the RCMP reuquested drivers stay off the province's roads due to deteriorating conditions.
As of 3:30 p.m., the Confederation Bridge is currently under a traffic restriction to all high-sided vehicles including cars towing trailers, trucks, tractor trailers, recreational vehicles and buses.
Several departures and arrivals at the Charlottetown Airport were also cancelled this afternoon and into Thursday evening.
Maritime Electric was reporting weather-related power outages in several communities as of 6:30 p.m., and more than 1,000 customers without power:
- ALBERRY PLAINS
- BELLE RIVER
- BRACKLEY BEACH
- MILTON STATION
- NORTH CARLETON
- OCEAN VIEW
- SOUTH PINETTE
- ST CATHERINES
- ST MARYS ROAD
- WEST POINT
Environment Canada has issued both a storm surge and wind warning for the entire province.
An intense low-pressure system southeast of Cape Cod continues to strengthen as it approaches the Maritimes this eveing. The intense storm will track near the Bay of Fundy tonight and into the Gulf of St Lawrence Friday morning, the weather agency says.
Very strong easterly winds gusting to 90 km/h with even higher gusts over exposed areas near the coast will develop across the Island early Thursday evening.
Late overnight and Friday morning, very strong southwesterly winds gusting to 90 km/h will spread across the province. Winds will drop below warning criteria Friday afternoon, but southwesterly winds will remain quite gusty.
Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur. High winds may toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break.
Meanwhile, during high tide this evening, water levels along the Northumberland Strait west to Cape Tormentine and Summerside will be elevated enough to cause coastal flooding in vulnerable areas.
In addition, ice rafting may occur near high tide along coastlines exposed to the east tonight, and to the south on Friday as winds shift from east to southwest.
Coastal flooding is possible along the shoreline. Sea ice may move onshore with the surge causing damage to infrastructure. Coastal erosion is possible in vulnerable areas.
Emergency officials with the City of Charlottetown are advising those living and travelling in areas prone to flooding to use caution and make any preparations necessary for the potential storm surge. City staff will continue to monitor water levels and these areas of Charlottetown and will barricade any flooded areas if there are safety concerns.
Those living and travelling in areas prone to flooding should also monitor water levels and weather updates for changing conditions. Any notices or updates from City officials will be issued via local media and the City’s social media channels.
LIVE STREAM of downtown Charlottetown to see weather conditions there, courtesy of the P.E.I. government and The Guild
Snow hit southeastern P.E.I. around noon and began in the Charlottetown area just before 12:30 p.m.
It is being called a weather bomb, a strictly defined meteorological term describing when the atmospheric pressure drops 24 or more points in 24 hours or less.
Island-wide, all provincial civil service offices closed at 2 p.m.
School was cancelled around 6 a.m. ahead of the storm's predicted arrival. Holland College also cancelled classes and UPEI closed at 1 p.m.
Health P.E.I. has cancelled a number of services.
Charlottetown has imposed an overnight ban on overnight parking on city streets. The Cody Banks Arena, Simmons Sports Centre and the four City of Charlottetown Community Centres all closed as of 2 p.m. The Circuit Fitness program, scheduled for this evening at the West Royalty Community Centre, has also been cancelled due to the weather.
Along the Eastern Seaboard, states have been declaring states of emergency.
It is expected to develop as snow with winds getting stronger, and snow getting heavier as the day goes on. Temperatures will be slowly rising, so there is a good chance of ice pellets or freezing rain developing, especially in the eastern half of the province.
By tonight the temperature could be up around +4 to +8 in the Kings County region.
Wind will be east, strong, with gust anywhere between 80 to 110 kilometers per hour.
Snowfall is forecast to be around 10 to 20 centimetres but possibly 20 to 30 in Prince County.
By Saturday the forecast is for temperatures to plummet to the –12 C range.
Snow at times heavy mixed with ice pellets, changing to rain late this evening. Risk of freezing rain early this evening. Blowing snow this evening. Snow and ice pellet amount 10 cm. Rainfall amount 5 to 10 mm.
TEMPERATURE: Rising to around +6, then falling.
WIND: East gusting to 90, except gusting to 110 along parts of the coast this evening. Wind becoming south gusting to 80 late this evening, then becoming southwest gusting to 80 before morning.
FORECAST FOR FRIDAY, JAN. 5:
Rain showers or flurries changing to flurries in the morning.
TEMPERATURE: Falling to –4 in the afternoon.
WIND: Southwest gusting to 80, diminishing to gusts up to 50 in the afternoon.
First light – 6:43 a.m.
Civil twilight – 7:21
Official Sunrise – 7:55 a.m.
Official Sunset – 4:39 p.m.
Civil twilight ends – 5:14 p.m.
Last light – 5:51 p.m.
Moon – Moonrise today at 8:05 p.m., and moonset is tomorrow 10:25 a.m.
The official length of daylight today is 8 hours, 44 minutes.
The highest temperature on record for Jan. 4 on P.E.I. is +11.8 set in 2000.
The lowest temperature on record for this date is –28.6 set in 1981.
For Jan. 4 on P.E.I., the average high is –2.6.
Average low for this date is -11.5.
The hot spot in Canada this morning was at Bonilla Island, B.C. where it was +9.3.
The coldest spot anywhere in Canada early this morning was at Rivière aux Feuilles, Que. where it was -46.7.
Below is a live-stream camera view courtesy of Confederation Bridge to give a sense of weather conditions at that location.