Nova Scotia braces for potential blizzard

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Heavy snow and widespread blowing snow are expected to hit Pictou County on Wednesday with blizzard conditions and near-zero visibility.

Storm watch

Environment Canada says a low pressure system developing off the U.S. seaboard today is forecast to intensify rapidly as it tracks toward the Maritimes on Wednesday. The storm is expected to track near Sable Island Wednesday evening before moving on to Newfoundland on Thursday.

Snow is forecast to begin overnight in Southwestern Nova Scotia and spread to the remainder of the province Wednesday morning. The snow is expected to change to rain late in the day over the eastern half of the mainland and Cape Breton. Elsewhere the snow is expected to taper off Wednesday night. Strong northeast winds will develop during the day Wednesday and gusts up to 100 km/h are possible later Wednesday afternoon and evening. These very strong winds combined with heavy snow will cause widespread whiteout conditions in blowing snow. In general between 25 to 40 centimetres of snow can be expected with this system over most of Nova Scotia.

However, some areas over Western and Northern Nova Scotia could locally see in excess of 50 cm, and given the extensive blowing and drifting snow there could be significant variability in snow amounts received within any forecast region.

Additionally on Wednesday afternoon and evening higher than normal water levels combined with rapidly rising wave activity may produce local flooding along much of the Atlantic coast of Mainland Nova Scotia during the high tide late Wednesday. These high water levels combined with the heavy pounding surf could give rise to some coastal erosion in some areas.

In the Northumberland Strait water levels will also rise Wednesday evening but appear not to coincide with high tide.
Winds gusting up to 160 km/h are expected to develop late Wednesday afternoon and diminish Wednesday evening.

Organizations: Environment Canada

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, U.S., Sable Island Newfoundland Cape Breton Western

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