Parts of southwestern Nova Scotia faced freezing rain and power outages on Friday as a slow-moving storm hovered over Atlantic Canada.
More than 24,000 customers in Nova Scotia were dealing with outages, with the majority of them located in the Digby and Annapolis Valley areas. Digby Mayor Ben Cleveland said in an interview Friday that freezing rain had been causing ice to form on roads and power lines since early that morning.
“It’s pretty nasty,” Cleveland said. “There’s lots of heavy ice on the trees and the wires and the fire department here has been out constantly all day long.”
The area is expected to see a mix of wintry weather until Saturday morning, he added.
Environment Canada has warned that widespread power outages in the province were likely, and Nova Scotia Power activated its emergency operations centre to deal with the fifth major winter storm to hit the province in the past four weeks.
Between 30 and 40 centimetres of snow could blanket northern Nova Scotia and western Cape Breton by Saturday morning, while rain and freezing rain warnings were in effect for the rest of the province, with up to 100 millimetres of rain possible in parts of the south.
“So far this year, we have seen a significant number of severe weather systems impact Nova Scotia,” Nova Scotia Power spokesman Sean Borden said in a statement Thursday night.
“We are positioning power line crews, forestry and other teams across the province, so we are ready to safely respond as quickly as possible for our customers.”
Borden said the utility’s customers should assemble emergency kits with flashlights, battery-powered radios and fresh water.
“Ice storms can lead to prolonged outages if temperatures stay low, as it takes time to get ice off the lines and equipment,” the utility said. “The impact can also be felt as the ice melts and trees spring back up from the weight of the ice.”
In preparation for the storm, the Irving Shipbuilding facility in Halifax cancelled its night shift on Friday. Canadian Forces Base Halifax has also closed, according to a social media post, and so has the Royal Canadian Air Force base in Shearwater, N.S.
Meanwhile, the rest of the region can expect to get pelted with a mix of heavy snow, ice pellets and rain well into the weekend.
Snowfall and winter storm warnings have been issued for all of New Brunswick, where snow was expected to accumulate Friday evening, leading to blowing snow Friday night.
P.E.I. has been warned ice pellets are expected to mix with snow as the storm moves over the province.
Up to 70 cm of snow could fall over central and northeastern parts of Newfoundland, while eastern communities in the province can expect a prolonged period of rain and freezing rain.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2022.