Avalon Peninsula could see 60 cm of snow as Newfoundland faces blast of winter weather

Winds will also play a factor in the weekend weather, with northeasterly winds expected to reach 80 km/h across the Avalon.

Snow will be heaviest Saturday afternoon and will continue into Sunday

A blue snow plow pushing snow.

Environment Canada has upped its estimated snowfall totals for eastern Newfoundland, saying a messy mix of winter weather could bring as much as 60 centimetres to the Avalon Peninsula.

The snow started falling Friday night and eased Saturday morning. Eighteen centimetres was reported at St. John's International Airport as of 6:30 a.m. Saturday, according to Environment Canada Meteorologist Rodney Barney.

But the snowfall is expected to be at its heaviest Saturday afternoon and evening and will continue into Sunday.

"We are going to see that heavier snow really develop as we go through the day today," Barney told CBC Radio on Saturday.

"Starting around the lunch hour and continuing through the afternoon into the evening, that's when we're going to be seeing some of the heaviest snowfall rates … anywhere from two to four centimetres an hour."

The amount of snow will vary depending on elevation, according to a winter storm warning in effect from Environment Canada, but St. John's and the surrounding area could see between 30 and 60 centimetres of snow.

Northern and southern parts of the Avalon, along with the Bonavista Peninsula, could see between 20 and 35 centimetres of snow.

18 cm down at St. John's airport. <br>Don't be fooled by the lull, things are going to ramp up as we get into the heaviest of the snow this afternoon. <br>Snowfall rates between 2-5+cm/h combined with gusty NE winds near 70-80 km/h = stay where you're at. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nlwx?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#nlwx</a> <a href="https://t.co/cyNzMJ0ygc">pic.twitter.com/cyNzMJ0ygc</a>


Winds will also play a factor in the weekend weather, with northeasterly winds expected to reach 80 km/h across the Avalon. A blowing snow advisory is in place for Terra Nova, according to Environment Canada.

Power outages are being reported on Bell Island as of 11:30 a.m., affecting over 600 people. An outage is also being reported in the Southern Harbour and Little Harbour areas near Come by Chance, affecting about 370 people. No restoration time has been set by Newfoundland Power.

CBC Meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler says winds will stay gusty into Sunday and will be particularly strong over the course of Saturday evening.

The forecasted snow will more than match what has fallen since the beginning of winter, she said.

"I believe 40 [centimetres] is all that has fallen this winter. So we are going to more than double, more than likely more than double, our snowfall amounts for the season so far," Brauweiler said.

Transportation is being impacted across the Avalon with cancellations at both St. John's International Airport and Deer Lake Airport. Metrobus and GoBus will be off the roads on Saturday.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has responded to 14 weather related traffic accidents as of 4 a.m. Saturday, according to their nightly report sent to media.

The Avalon Mall and NLC Liquor Stores in St. John's, Mount Pearl, Paradise and CBS are closed for the day.

The Gathering Place, a community health centre in St. John's, is reducing its services to essential shelter due to the weather. Normal operations will resume when it is safe to do so.

Recreational facilities in St. John's, Mount Pearl and Paradise are all closed as of Saturday morning and municipal crews are out cleaning roads.

But, as Mount Pearl Mayor Dave Aker told CBC News, clean roads for the time being doesn't mean it's the best decision to head out.

"It's not really a day that's fit to be out and about," he said.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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