Tough slogging expected across Atlantic Canada in wake of major storm

Travelling around much of Atlantic Canada will be a challenge Friday due to a fast-moving and powerful winter storm that blew in from the United States on Thursday night.

Environment Canada had issued multiple snow and wind warnings, saying many areas of Nova Scotia were likely to receive up to 40 centimetres of snow accompanied by wind gusts of up to 100 kilometres per hour.

By early Friday, however, several storm warnings had been lifted, including those covering Prince Edward Island and the Halifax area. The forecast for P.E.I had called for up to 20 centimetres of snow.

Eastern and southern New Brunswick were expected to get hit with 15-25 centimetres of snow although the snow began to ease off during the night in the Edmunston, Cambellton and Woodstock areas.

The system was on a track to move across Cape Breton early Friday before shifting to the northeast, with periods of snow tapering to flurries.

But even with the snow easing off in many areas, road travel was expected to remain hazardous due to reduced visibility caused by blowing snow. Police in several jurisdictions had warned people to stay off roads.

Powerful bursts of wind were also expected to produce storm surges and large pounding waves along the southern Nova Scotia shoreline and eastern Prince Edward Island Friday morning.

Flights to and from Halifax were being affected by the storm. The Halifax Stanfield International Airport website listed numerous flight cancellations and delays Friday morning. Passengers were advised to check with their airline before venturing to the airport.

Many schools and universities in the storm's path were closed Thursday afternoon and were expected to remain closed in the morning due to poor road conditions.

The weather has also delayed some Marine Atlantic ferry routes in the Cabot Strait and forced the Confederation Bridge to issue a restriction on large vehicles, including tractor trailers and buses.

Travel on the Englishtown and LaHavre ferries in Nova Scotia was shut down due to the weather.

Most of Newfoundland, including the St. John's area and the Avalon Peninsula, were under freezing rain and wind warnings. Environment Canada said the freezing rain would change to rain by the morning with winds gusting of 80 to 100 kilo meters per hour. A blizzard warning was in effect over much of southeastern Labrador.

The storm had roared up the northeastern United States, where it dumped up to 30 centimetres of snow from Philadelphia to Boston.