A winter storm that will bring 20 to 40 centimetres of snow across New Brunswick on Thursday has caused power outages, closed several school districts, delayed and cancelled flights and postponed ferry services.
As of 5:30 p.m. about 4,000 NB Power customers are without power as the storm treks its way through southwest and northeastern New Brunswick. The outages are affecting communities in Carleton County and Charlotte County.
Utility spokesperson Marc Belliveau said the utility has 75 crews utilized to address outages in the province.
"Most of the issues, as you can imagine, are those gusting winds that are causing a lot of trees and branches to make contact with lines," said Belliveau.
Felicia Murphy, the spokesperson for SNC Lavalin, the company which operates the Trans Canada Highway between Longs Creek and the Quebec border, said the road is partly to completely snow covered, and winds are creating poor visibility.
There is a 'No Travel' for much of the highway.
"It's definitely best that you delay your travels if you can," said Murphy.
A snowfall warning is in effect for the following areas:
- Campbellton and Restigouche County
- Edmundston and Madawaska County
- Fredericton and Southern York County
- Fundy National Park
- Grand Falls and Victoria County
- Grand Lake and Queens County
- Grand Manan and Coastal Charlotte County
- Moncton and Southeast New Brunswick
- Mount Carleton - Renous Highway
- Oromocto and Sunbury County
- Saint John and County
- St. Stephen and Northern Charlotte County
- Stanley -Doaktown - Blackville area
- Sussex - Kennebecasis Valley and Kings County
- Woodstock and Carleton County
Snow is expected to begin falling in the southwest and spread across the province in a northeastward direction. Strong winds may cause blowing snow later Thursday afternoon and evening.
"It's not only snow, but it's wind and that's really going to cause some problems too," said CBC meterologist Tina Simpkin.
"It'll be blowing around really reducing the visibility on the roadways as well, so it's not a good travel day for sure."
Environment Canada said drivers should consider postponing non-essential travel.
In the south, the snow may turn to ice pellets tonight. Some southern areas could see a snow-rain mix in the early hours of Friday morning.
In northeastern New Brunswick, a winter storm warning is in effect for the following areas:
- Acadian Peninsula
- Bathurst and Chaleur Region
- Campbellton and Restigouche County
- Kent County
- Kouchibouguac National Park
- Miramichi and area
Those areas of the province could see up to 40 cm fall this afternoon and evening, before tapering to flurries Friday morning.
Public Safety Canada recommends people create an emergency preparedness plan and kit.
Strong wind gusts between 70 and 90 km/h are also expected this afternoon in northeastern New Brunswick, Environment Canada said. The blowing snow could reduce visibility at times.
A wind warning is in place for Grand Manan and Charlotte County. Easterly winds are expected to gust up to 80 km/h along the coast and could gust up to 100 km/h over Grand Manan. High winds can toss lose objects and cause tree branches to break, the federal agency said.
The Grand Manan Adventure ferry will sail to Blacks Harbour this morning, where it will dock and wait out the storm.
In Fredericton, the temperature will be -1 C today, but the wind chill will make it feel like -9 C. Flurries will begin in Fredericton around 9 a.m. and intensify this afternoon.
The temperature will reach a high of zero in Saint John Thursday, but it will feel like -10 C with the wind chill.
Moncton will see a high of -1 C with the wind chill making it feel like -12 C.
Temperatures will fall to -8 C this afternoon in Edmundston. The wind chill will make it feel like -12 C this morning and -19 C this afternoon.
All schools in anglophone north, east, south and west districts are closed.
Schools in Francophone North-West School District will close at noon. All schools in Francophone South School District are closed.
Some flights departing and arriving from the Fredericton International Airport, Saint John Airport and the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport have been delayed or cancelled.