State of emergency declared in Saint John causing flight delays

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – The city of Saint John, N.B., has declared a state of emergency after a brawny blizzard dumped 29 centimetres of snow on a city that already had almost 100 centimetres of snow on the ground.

With more snow in the forecast, city officials said public safety was at risk as emergency vehicles were having a tough time getting around in the city’s southern peninsula. The city has banned all street parking on the peninsula and is warning drivers their vehicles will be towed as of noon today.

“The declaration is a result of the current heavy snow accumulation and anticipated further accumulation and the need to have accessibility for public safety,” the city said in a statement. “The purpose of this declaration is to support more effective snow plowing, push back and removal.”

The Trans-Canada Highway between Moncton and Nova Scotia has been closed, as have some roads along the coast in eastern New Brunswick.

“It’s been difficult to keep up with the rate of snowfall,” said Jean-Marc Couturier, a forecaster with Environment Canada in Halifax.

Environment Canada says a low pressure system has tracked northeastward over the Maritimes, bringing heavy snow, strong northeast winds and wind-chill values near -30 C.

Road closures, school cancellations and flight delays were reported across the region.

In Charlottetown, the storm dumped 59 centimetres of snow. Moncton reported 44 centimetres.

In northern Nova Scotia, another 20 to 30 centimetres of snow fell on the area with Greenwood, N.S., getting the most at 34 centimetres.

The streets of Halifax were slippery this morning after ice pellets and freezing rain combined to make a frozen mess. Both Halifax and Yarmouth reported 24 centimetres of snow.

“There was a mixed bag of precipitation throughout Nova Scotia,” says Couturier.

Meanwhile, winds gusting at more that 100 kilometres per hour have been reported in parts of Cape Breton.

The storm was expected to make its way to Newfoundland and Labrador later today, bringing high winds and heavy snow to some areas.

Couturier says another low-pressure system is expected to hit the Maritime on Thursday, bringing more snow and strong winds.