Nor'easter to bring snow to Maritimes on Friday

·3 min read
A snow-covered road is seen in Halifax on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021. (Craig Paisley/CBC - image credit)
A snow-covered road is seen in Halifax on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021. (Craig Paisley/CBC - image credit)

The first significant nor'easter of 2022 is getting set to roll into the Maritimes on Friday, with 20 to 30 centimetres of snow expected for northern Nova Scotia as well as southeastern New Brunswick and P.E.I.

Totals as high as 40 centimetres are possible across higher terrain areas, especially through the Colchester and Cumberland regions of Nova Scotia, as the storm continues through Friday night.

The system will track right along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, making this a tricky forecast for that coastline, including Halifax.

As of now, there's a good chance of snow mixing over to rain and drizzle near the coast. How much mixing we'll see is the million-dollar question — and the exact track of the system will be the key.

Snow totals dependent on track

With a track a bit farther north and more mixing, snow totals near five centimetres are likely right along the coast. With a track just slightly farther south and less mixing, totals along the coast could be closer to 15 to 20 centimetres.

A shift of just 50 kilometres north or south will make a big difference.

Stay tuned for further updates on this through the day Friday.

Ryan Snoddon/CBC
Ryan Snoddon/CBC

Strong winds could create whiteouts

The winds will be howling with this storm, and coupled with the snow, will lead to lots of blowing, drifting and possible whiteout conditions.

Northeast winds will ramp up late Friday and peak that night as they shift to north and then northwest into early Saturday.

Ryan Snoddon/CBC
Ryan Snoddon/CBC

We're generally looking at gusts in the 60-80 km/h range. However, places near the Bay of Fundy, the Atlantic coastline and the Northumberland shore of Nova Scotia and especially Cape Breton and P.E.I. will likely see some gusts topping 90 km/h.

Even in the winter season with no foliage on the trees, these types of winds can lead to power outages, and so you should plan accordingly and check those emergency kits.

Storm timeline Friday through Saturday

The snow looks set to move in quickly from west to east through Friday morning, arriving before lunchtime for most. Winds will remain relatively light for the morning

The afternoon and evening commute will be a snowy one for much of the region with snow on the ground and snow accumulating at two to three centimetres per hour for some. This is also when we'll begin to see that potential for mixing with ice and rain along the Atlantic coastline.

Ryan Snoddon/CBC
Ryan Snoddon/CBC

As the storm strengthens, the winds will really start to ramp up throughout the evening with gusts in the 60-80 km/h or more range, leading to blowing snow and drifting.

Moving through the evening and overnight, the snow and blowing snow will continue across eastern areas. The snow will begin to taper off for western areas.

Ryan Snoddon/CBC
Ryan Snoddon/CBC

By the time most of us are rolling out of bed Saturday morning, the snow will have tapered off to some lingering flurries, however, the winds will continue to howl from the northwest — especially across eastern areas.

The winds will continue to ease slowly throughout the day, but cold temperatures will make for a chilly cleanup on Saturday afternoon.

Ryan Snoddon/CBC
Ryan Snoddon/CBC

Nova Scotia Power is warning people ahead of time to expect power outages. The utility is activating its emergency operations centre at 10 a.m. AT on Friday.

"Based on the current forecast, we expect this storm to cause power outages across the province," Nova Scotia Power storm lead Sean Borden said in a news release Thursday.

"We are taking every precaution to ensure we are ready to respond."

Ryan Snoddon/CBC
Ryan Snoddon/CBC

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