Central region hit hardest by latest winter storm to thrash Newfoundland

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Central region hit hardest by latest winter storm to thrash Newfoundland

Much of Newfoundland was battening down the hatches as an early spring blizzard hit the island on Monday.

Environment Canada has ended the blizzard warning for the Avalon Peninsula, but are in still effect for many parts of the island with the remaining areas under blowing snow advisories and wind warnings.

Schools and colleges in the St. John's area are closed for the day, and provincial government offices were closed in central for the day while in St. John's they were reopening at 1 p.m.

Flights at the St. John's International Airport were delayed or cancelled throughout the morning. Metrobus resumed service at 11:30 a.m.

Central faces fiercest wrath of winter

Areas in central are still getting heavy snow and strong winds throughout Monday, with 45 to 65 centimetres expected in the Gander area by the end of the day Tuesday.

Kyle Hart said this is the wildest weather he has experienced since Hurricane Igor.

"I had my glasses on first, but I had to take them off because they're getting full of snow. I put my contacts in," he told CBC News.

"It's crazy, look at the snowbanks now."

Cody Randall was another resident of Gander kept busy Monday afternoon with digging out his car — despite longing for another winter activity.

"If I had my Ski-Doo here, I would love it," he said, while shovelling.

So just where is he going to put this latest dumping of fluffy white stuff?

"On top of the other snow, I suppose."

Canada Post said it was too dangerous for mail delivery in central Newfoundland, and that it would be halting service until conditions improved.

RCMP warned drivers to use extreme caution due to whiteout conditions in Gander and Lewisporte late Monday afternoon.

Dangerous roads

The province's transportation department was reporting poor driving conditions on nearly all highways in eastern and central regions of the island, and was advising drivers to stay off many routes due to poor visibility and snow covered roads.

Route 480 to Burgeo was closed at 8 a.m. due to the stormy conditions.

Bell Island ferry service, plagued by pack ice over the weekend, was not in operation Monday morning. Exxon Mobil also reduced workers on the Hebron platform in Bull Arm due to the weather, which is a standard operating procedure for the company.

The snow walloping the island, along with the winds gusting up to 80 to 90 kilometres in central Newfoundland — and up to 120 km/h along parts of the northeast coast — is forecast to dump anywhere between 15 and 30 centimetres before the precipitation turns to freezing rain and rain around noon.

The snow is then expected to return tonight, to dump an additional five to 15 centimetres in the St. John's area through Tuesday.