Winter storm watches expand across Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula, for a system that threatens up to 30+ cm of snow through Thursday. The storm will develop south of the Maritimes Wednesday, track east and push snow into Newfoundland beginning Thursday afternoon. Blizzard-like conditions are expected, as 60-80 km/h wind gusts could bring dangerous whiteout conditions. This will result in treacherous travel, so people are advised to stay off the roads until conditions improve Friday morning. While there is still some uncertainty in the track, and any shifts in the track could change projected snowfall totals, at this time the city of St. John's is in line to get 25-35 cm of snow through Friday. More details on the timing and impact, below.
Major winter storm potential in Newfoundland Thursday, threatens 25-35 cm of snow, blizzard-like conditions
Blizzard warnings for Labrador, with 80 km/h winds, 20 cm of snow expected
Conditions to improve in Newfoundland Friday, but more periods of snow expected on the weekend for northern, eastern areas
THURSDAY: POTENT WINTER STORM THREATENS NEWFOUNDLAND, HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS LIKELY
A storm is expected to develop south of Nova Scotia on Wednesday and track east of Newfoundland Thursday and Friday. Snow is set to push across Newfoundland on Thursday afternoon, accompanied by strong winds and areas of blowing snow. Blizzard-like conditions are possible through the overnight hours.
"With a trough in place over Eastern Canada, this system will have more cold air to work with, which gives us higher confidence that precipitation will be all snow," says Weather Network meteorologist Michael Carter.
Winter storm watches are already in place for the island, warning of the blizzard-like conditions expected Thursday afternoon and night. Eastern portions of the Avalon will be the most heavily impacted.
There is still some uncertainty about the exact snowfall amounts, as they will depend on how close to shore the system tracks. Minor changes in the storm track would have a major impact on snow totals. Should the storm pass further east, snowfall amounts will be much less, but if it tracks closer to the Avalon, higher accumulations will be expected.
However, at this point it looks like 25-35 cm of snow is expected for the St. John’s area, with wind gusts of 60-80 km/h. Meanwhile, 20-30 cm is expected in southern Avalon and parts of the eastern coast, including Bonavista.
This will lead to dangerous travel as whiteout conditions are expected from poor visibility from the blowing snow.
"Regardless of the eventual totals, periods of heavy snowfall rates and strong winds gusting over 80 km/h may bring dangerous travel and whiteout conditions on Thursday," Carter adds.
BLIZZARD WARNINGS, DANGEROUS TRAVEL IN LABRADOR
In Labrador, meanwhile, blizzard warnings are in place for several areas.
Snow developed across coastal Labrador Tuesday overnight becoming heavier at times Wednesday. Snow will be accompanied by blustery northwesterly winds and cold temperatures to bring near-zero visibilities. Conditions are expected to improve overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning as winds begin to ease and snow tapers off.
About 20 cm of snow is expected, while wind gusts of 80 km/h or higher are anticipated.
"Travel is expected to be hazardous due to reduced visibility. If you must travel, keep others informed of your schedule and destination and carry an emergency kit and mobile phone," says Environment Canada in the blizzard warning.
Conditions in Newfoundland will improve on Friday. Beyond, aditional periods of snow are expected on the weekend for northern and eastern areas of Newfoundland.
Be sure to check back as we continue to monitor the pattern change and potent late week system across Atlantic Canada.