Powerful Maritime storm closes roads and schools, leaves thousands without power

Powerful winds blew this tractor trailer over on the Canso Causeway today, between Cape Breton Island and the Nova …Less than a week after nearly 50,000 residents of Atlantic Canada were left in the dark due to a powerful rainstorm, many were once again without power Wednesday as another storm brought a mix of rain, snow and gusting winds that has closed roads, cancelled classes and caused several accidents.

The Cobequid Pass — a main artery that links Nova Scotia and New Brunswick — was closed twice since last night due to stuck vehicles, and one accident involving four tractor trailers that resulted in one person suffering minor injuries. Snow-covered roads and blowing snow continue to cause hazardous driving conditions across northern Nova Scotia and into southern Cape Breton Island. The Canso Causeway, connecting Cape Breton Island to the mainland, was closed since just after noon ADT due to a tractor trailer that blew over from exceptionally strong gusts blasting across the road.

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Roads conditions in Prince Edward Island have also been affected due to snow and blowing snow. The northern half of Cape Breton Island is still seeing rain and above-zero temperatures this afternoon, but that will quickly change as the storm moves northward and road conditions there will deteriorate into the evening.

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Schools were closed across many areas of Nova Scotia as of late Wednesday morning, either due to power outages or as residents prepared for the worst of the storm to pass through. Similarly, classes in both the English and French school boards, as well as for Catholic schools and community colleges have been cancelled for Prince Edward Island.

Crews from Nova Scotia Power have already been hard at work restoring power to many already affected by outages overnight and into this morning. The company's website is currently reporting more than 5,000 residents of Cape Breton Island without power, and that number could increase as the winds continue to hammer the region.

While the rain and snowfall amounts are significant, it's the powerful winds that are the biggest concern from this storm, with gusts of up to 110 kilometres per hour possible at times. Wind warnings have been issued throughout the northern part of Nova Scotia and eastern Cape Breton Island. Due to colder temperatures being pulled into the western part of the storm, heavy snow is expected to fall across P.E.I and the western half of Cape Breton Island, with winter storm warnings in effect in those regions.

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This storm system, which is centred north of Cape Breton Island, will be tracking northeast throughout the day and will be passing over central Newfoundland tonight. Although it is expected to spread a messy mix of snow, freezing rain and drizzle across the island, the winds are, again, the main concern, with gusts of up to 120 km/h expected tonight. Wind and storm surge warnings have been issued for the eastern half of the island, with freezing rain warnings along the Northern Peninsula and winter storm warnings in eastern Labrador.

(Photo courtesy: Shane Pettipas/YouTube)

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