A pedestrian braves the elements in downtown Halifax on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. Snow, rain and high winds forced school closures and disrupted transportation. Rain and wind warnings have been issued for Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast, where damaging gusts could reach up to 100 kilometres per hour. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

A pedestrian braves the elements in downtown Halifax on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. Snow, rain and high winds forced school closures and disrupted transportation. Rain and wind warnings have been issued for Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast, where damaging gusts could reach up to 100 kilometres per hour. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Messy winter storm slams into the Maritimes

HALIFAX — A winter storm swept over the Maritimes on Tuesday, forcing the closure of schools and making driving treacherous.

Snowfall and winter storm warnings were issued for much of the region, though most of Nova Scotia was bracing for up to 80 millimetres of rain and winds gusting up to 100 kilometres per hour along the coast.

“Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads,” Environment Canada warned. “Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible.”

Power outages were reported along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast and on New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island, where about 2,000 people were without electricity at noon local time.

By noon local time, almost 6,000 people were in the dark in Nova Scotia, most of them along the province’s southwest shore. Nova Scotia Power issued a statement saying it had 300 field technicians and contractors stationed across the province ready to respond to the storm.

“We are expecting significant heavy wet snow, rainfall and winds up to 100 km/h across the province,” said Lia MacDonald, the utility’s vice-president of transmission, distribution and delivery. “We want our customers to know we are ready, and we are responding as it is safe to do so.”

Meanwhile, up to 45 centimetres of snow was in the forecast for northern New Brunswick, but the snow was expected to transition to ice pellets and rain in the afternoon.

As the storm trudged across the three provinces, the list of cancellations continued to grow.

Moncton City Hall closed Tuesday and suspended all non-essential municipal services, including municipal transit. Environment Canada said residents of the Saint John River Valley should prepare for a few hours of freezing rain.

In Prince Edward Island, up to 25 cm of blowing snow was in the forecast for the central part of the Island, followed by a period of ice pellets and freezing rain. “Rapidly accumulating snow will make travel difficult,” Environment Canada warned Islanders.

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