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Gusty winds could create blizzard-like conditions in parts of Nova Scotia

As a long-duration snowstorm works its way through Nova Scotia, the province and RCMP are urging people to stay off the roads, unless their travel is essential.

Significant snow, gusty winds are on the way for central, eastern areas

A photo shows a Halifax Transit bus that's stuck on a street because of a snowfall.

As a long-duration snowstorm works its way through Nova Scotia, the province and RCMP are urging people to stay off the roads, unless their travel is essential.

In a tweet, RCMP say officers are reporting deteriorating weather conditions provincewide.

A type of weather system known as a cut-off low will sit and spin to the east of the province throughout the weekend and into early next week. These types of systems are notoriously tough to forecast. When lows sit and spin for days on end, forecast model guidance doesn't typically handle them as well.

Environment Canada issues snowfall warning for parts of Nova Scotia

19 hours ago

Duration 2:52

Meteorologist Ryan Snoddon says folks across much of Nova Scotia should prepare for winter driving conditions with periods of snow that continue right into Monday.

Because of that, there's greater uncertainty than usual with this storm system, especially when it comes to overall snowfall totals.

With all that said, folks across much of Nova Scotia should prepare for winter driving conditions with periods of snow that continue right into Monday.

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RCMPNS?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RCMPNS</a> officers are reporting deteriorating weather conditions across the province. Avoid unnecessary travel and call 511 or follow <a href="https://twitter.com/511ns?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@511ns</a> for the latest road conditions. Please share. <a href="https://t.co/QZsxTzGK4O">pic.twitter.com/QZsxTzGK4O</a>

&mdash;@RCMPNS

As the winds crank up, blowing and drifting snow will become a greater factor on Sunday, with blizzard-like conditions at times developing across Cape Breton and the eastern half of the mainland.

Given the long duration of this event, we'll break this up into two rounds.

The first round began Friday evening and will continue throughout Saturday. The snow will be light to moderate and slowly add up throughout the day, especially in eastern areas.

Northeast winds will slowly ramp up Saturday and will gust in the 50-60 km/h range in the afternoon and evening. Localized blowing and drifting snow will be a factor over exposed areas.

It appears there will be brief lull in the action on Saturday evening, before round two ramps up.

Given it's further out, there's more uncertainty with round two. That said, it appears the light-to-moderate snow will continue to fall across a good portion of Nova Scotia right into Monday.

Once again, the highest amounts are looking most likely to fall across eastern areas, with Cape Breton and the Northumberland Shore expected to fall in the crosshairs.

No matter the totals that eventually fall, the northeast winds on Sunday are looking likely to crank up with more widespread gusts in the 60-80 km/h range. Stronger gusts are possible over exposed coastal areas.

Folks travelling should prepare for more widespread blowing and drifting snow as the winds pick up and blowing snow becomes a greater factor. Blizzard-like conditions are looking set to develop at times across Cape Breton and the eastern half of the mainland.

By Monday morning, it's looking likely that amounts will exceed 50 centimetres and may reach up to 80 centimetres or more for some areas of the east and northeast.

Depending on how the system sets up, it's possible there will be additional accumulations on Monday, especially across Cape Breton.

Stay safe and stay tuned for updates this weekend on cbc.ca/ns, the CBC News app, local radio and TV.

In a news release from Nova Scotia's Department of Public Works and Emergency Management Office on Friday, the province said people should keep an eye on the forecast and consider road conditions before heading out. They said to stay off the roads entirely if possible.

"If people must travel, they should consult 511 Nova Scotia for information on road conditions," it said. "Motorists planning to travel through the Cobequid Pass or across the Canso Causeway, in particular, are advised to stay abreast of weather forecasts and road conditions."

The province said crews will be out all weekend to keep the roads as clear as possible.

During winter storms, the province wants people to do the following:

  • Monitor local weather forecasts.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel and check 511 regularly.
  • Have an emergency kit ready.
  • Stay inside or seek shelter.
  • Get out of the wind to avoid wind chill.
  • Bring pets inside and ensure livestock have shelter and drinking water.
  • Wear several warm layers.
  • Use battery-powered lights or glow sticks and avoid candles.
  • Never use barbecues, camping stoves or fuel-powered heaters indoors.
  • Keep portable generators outside and away from windows.

The province said anyone in need for emergency supports like overnight shelter beds can call 211 to connect with services in their community.

List of closures

The poor weather has already caused some disruptions, including:

  • Cape Breton Transit service announced at 11 a.m. AT that it was shutting down service within the hour.
  • The Cape Breton University campus is closed for the day.
  • Some Atlantic University Sport games scheduled for today have been postponed.
  • All flights in and out of the Sydney airport are cancelled.
  • All Halifax Public Libraries branches are closed Saturday.
  • Halifax Transit will suspend service at 1 p.m.
  • Most Halifax municipal recreation facilities are closed for the day.
  • Waste collection is cancelled for the day in Halifax.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryan Snoddon

Meteorologist

Ryan Snoddon is CBC's meteorologist in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

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