A storm being described as a weather bomb that is set to hit the Maritime Provinces later this morning has forced Marine Atlantic and all airlines connecting Newfoundland and Labrador airports and Halifax to cancel or delay their schedules.
The Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment is monitoring the approaching weather system that is expected bring strong winds and snow over Newfoundland and Labrador beginning this evening. They have issued an adverse weather condition warning for the entire province as of noon on Thursday.
This storm is also going to heavily impact this province, the west coast in particular and could be early next week before things subside enough to get schedules back in place.
“We have cancelled our sailings for today (Thursday) and again tomorrow and could impact us into Monday,’’ Marine Atlantic spokesperson Darrell Mercer said Thursday morning.
“There is a hurricane force wind warning in effect. We are expecting winds of 185 km/h through this storm. It has been a long time since we experienced 100 knot winds in a marine forecast and obviously this is not good for sailing,’’ he added.
Seas in excess of nine-metre swells are expected and the winds are expected to stay high until at least Monday and that will likely cause many more delays and cancellations.
Marine Atlantic sailed from both sides of the Gulf on Wednesday night clearing up any traffic at both ports. As of 10 a.m., Mercer said there were 16-drop trailers and six regular trucks waiting for transport at North Sydney and 76-drop trailers and 35 commercial vehicles waiting at Port aux Basques.
Those numbers could grow in the next few hours depending on weather patterns that could impact traffic to both depots. The Maritimes will be impacted by heavy snow that could quell traffic to North Sydney and the high winds; particularly through the Wreckhouse area generally brings truck traffic to a standstill.
“In addition, with today and tomorrow’s cancellations, there are 61 passengers impacted from North Sydney travelling to Port aux Basques and 181 passengers impacted travelling from Port aux Basques to North Sydney,’’ Mercer said.
As of 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, a host of incoming flights to St. John’s International Airport were showing delayed and at least five were already cancelled. Departing flights were also impacted with seven outgoing flights cancelled and several showing delays.
Residents are reminded to take measures to ensure personal safety and to follow the latest weather forecast for alert bulletins at www.weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=nl.
This system is forecast to bring strong winds tonight throughout the province. Wind gusts are anticipated near 180 km/h on parts of the west coast of the island portion of the province, while other areas will see wind gusts between 100-130 km/h.
Higher than normal water levels due to a combination of storm surge, high waves and pounding surf are expected during high tide near noon on Friday and Saturday for coastal areas of the island portion of the province.
High storm surges increase risk of flooding in coastal areas and residents are asked to exercise storm surge preparedness.
Municipalities and local service districts should ensure infrastructure such as roads, ditches and drains are clear of debris and appropriate provisions are made for the delivery of services during anticipated weather events.
For information on being prepared, residents can visit:
General emergency preparedness: www.getprepared.gc.ca.
Storm surge preparedness information: getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/hzd/strmsrgs-en.aspx.