Lingering winter storm to dump more snow in N.L. today, high winds also expected

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A lingering storm system that dumped heavy amounts of snow on eastern Newfoundland over a two-day period gradually tapered off on Saturday.

The region’s residents began digging out from under 50 cm or more of snow through the northern Avalon Peninsula, which includes the provincial capital of St. John’s.

“The total out of St. John’s airport is 71.8 cm over two days,” Mike Vandenberg, a meteorologist with Environment Canada’s Gander, N.L., office, said in an interview.

“The snow is tapering off and for the rest of the day we are looking at mainly cloudy skies with winds out of the northeast gusting to 70 km/h through the afternoon,” he said.

In all Saturday, about 5 to 10 cm of snow was expected to fall over the Burin Peninsula and 10 to 20 cm, with locally higher amounts possible, over the southern Avalon Peninsula.

Vandenberg said parts of the northern Avalon Peninsula did see total snowfall of between 70 to 80 cm. He said there were reports from the Bonavista Peninsula of 54 cm of snow, while the Gander area saw about 25 cm.

Meanwhile, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said a 46-year-old man was found and released without needing medical attention after his vehicle went off the road near the Trans-Canada Highway in Conception Bay South on Friday.

Police said the man tried to walk home but became disoriented and was found by patrol officers four hours later with the assistance of snow clearing vehicles from the town.

The City of St. John’s kept all facilities — including recreational spaces — closed on Saturday to allow for snow clearance. Transit buses also stayed off the roads, while stores and the city’s Avalon Mall remained closed.

The storm was the second to bury eastern Newfoundland in less than a month.

“This is certainly an unusually heavy dump of snow for March for St. John’s,” said Vandenberg, who added the city’s average snowfall for the month usually ranges between 50 and 60 cm.

“Mercifully we do get a break at least for tonight and into tomorrow,” he said.

However, Vandenburg said more messy weather is on the way beginning Monday.

“It’s a little uncertain as to what that system is going to look like,” he said. “It’s likely going to be a situation where precipitation falls as rain over eastern Newfoundland and likely snow inland and over higher terrain for parts of central.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 9, 2024.

- By Keith Doucette in Halifax

The Canadian Press