Forceful storm brings freezing rain, heavy rainfall to Atlantic Canada

The East Coast is in the middle of a battle of the air masses, which are producing the threat to see prolonged periods of freezing rain and ice pellets for parts of the region through Monday. Some areas will see over 100 mm of rain by Monday, making for likely flooding.

Similar conditions in the past have caused poor travel conditions and utility outages. Outages may be lengthy, depending on the severity of the icing. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots will become icy, slippery and hazardous. Ice buildup may cause tree branches to break.

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It’s an unusual setup for the heart of winter. Areas that are typically frozen and fending off bursts of snow in the middle of January are instead dealing with the potential for flooding rains and prolonged spells of icy conditions this weekend.

The stubborn boundary responsible for this icy setup will allow for multiple rounds of wintry precipitation to form and move across the region.


A slow-moving trough south of the Maritimes will get caught beneath a large, upper-level ridge building over northeastern Canada, creating what amounts to an atmospheric traffic jam that’ll make for a stagnant pattern through early next week.

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Southerly flow pumping tropical moisture into the region will fuel multiple rounds of precipitation through the weekend into early next week. This ample moisture raises concerns for abundant rainfall accumulations, especially along the southern coastal regions.

Meanwhile, colder air spilling in from the north will undercut that warmer air moving in from the south, building a classic setup for freezing rain and ice pellets across Atlantic Canada.

Communities along and near this atmospheric boundary will experience multiple waves of rain, freezing rain, and ice pellets over the next couple of days.

Travel will be dangerous across areas that experience even minor ice accretion from freezing rain. It only takes a thin glaze of ice to make roads, sidewalks, stairs, and driveways exceptionally slippery. Expect wind gusts of 40-60 km/h during the storm. Ice adds extra weight to surfaces so power outages can be expected.


Going into Sunday morning, there is a freezing rain threat for parts of central and western Newfoundland as well as parts of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, Northern shore, and Cape Breton.

Take caution commuting in parts of New Brunswick and much of Newfoundland through Monday as the threat of freezing rain continues and makes travel difficult.

The ice accretion spikes again heading into Monday as the atmospheric boundary lifts.

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The rain will be heavy at times as it makes its way across the southern coast of the Maritimes on Monday. Much of the southern coastlines of both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland will bear the brunt of the rain. Expect to see between 50-70 mm for Nova Scotia and over 100 mm for Newfoundland.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has issued widespread rainfall and freezing rain warnings across the Atlantic region. There are already reports of water covering some roadways on Prince Edward Island as a result of rain and snowmelt.

Above-seasonal temperatures will dominate through next week with an active pattern expected through the end of January.

Stay with The Weather Network for the latest forecasts across Atlantic Canada.