A fast and rapidly developing low-pressure system will turn Super Bowl Sunday into Snow Bowl Sunday for the Maritimes, lasting throughout the evening until Monday morning.
The system will exit northern Florida into the Atlantic Saturday night. From there, the system will strengthen as it moves northward and draws energy from the boundary between colder air over the continent and milder air over Atlantic waters.
As far as speed is concerned, the storm is a bullet. The centre travels about 1700 km from Florida to a position near Cape Cod in about 18 hours.
Let’s dig into what can be expected for impacts to our region.
The first of the snowflakes could fall for Yarmouth and the southwest of Nova Scotia as early as Sunday afternoon with a 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. time window.
By 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the snow will have developed across mainland Nova Scotia and the southwestern half of New Brunswick.
Around 9 p.m. to midnight, the snow will fill in across the remainder of New Brunswick, P.E.I., and Cape Breton.
Bands of heavy snow will wrap in off the Atlantic Sunday evening and night, which will be most widespread for Nova Scotia but could reach parts of southern New Brunswick as well as eastern and central Prince Edward Island.
That heavy snow will clear P.E.I. and northern and eastern Nova Scotia (including Cape Breton) from 8 a.m. to noon on Monday.
Areas of lighter snow and flurries may linger in the Maritime region through Monday afternoon.
Snow develops for much of the Maritimes late Sunday afternoon through evening. Heavy bands of snow will wrap in off the Atlantic.
Widespread snowfall totals of 20 to 30 cm are expected for Nova Scotia and P.E.I. in Kings County and Queens County. Within that area, snow pockets as high as 30 cm to 40 cm have been indicated. While there has been little consistency in guidance as to who might have the best chance of hitting that mark, I do expect a few in Nova Scotia will reach it.
A snowfall of 10 cm to 20 cm appears likely towards Summerside, P.E.I., and for areas near the Bay of Fundy coastline in N.B. all the way into Moncton and southeast regions of the province.
Moving north in New Brunswick, the snow amounts are expected to be lower. Still, Fredericton could see 5 cm to 10 cm.
A widespread snow of 20 to 30 cm with pockets as high as 30 to 40 cm is expected for Nova Scotia and Kings County, P.E.I. Snow in excess of 10 cm could stretch back across P.E.I. and into southern areas of New Brunswick.
Unfortunately, the forecast trend on Saturday has been for the snow to be accompanied by strong winds, particularly for Nova Scotia. The winds are expected to be from a northeast direction on Sunday evening and throughout the night, shifting northwest by Monday morning.
Peak gusts will range from 60 km/h to 100 km/h for Nova Scotia, with the highest wind gusts most likely on the Atlantic coastline.
Peak gusts will range from 30 km/h to 50 km/h for New Brunswick, except for areas near the Bay of Fundy coastline, Moncton and the southeast regions, which will see 50 km/h to 70 km/h.
Peak gusts for Prince Edward Island will range from 60 km/h to 80 km/h, with the highest likely for coastal areas of Kings County.
Given the heavy snow accompanying the winds, I expect prolonged periods of whiteout conditions for those areas seeing snow in excess of 10 cm. I recommend avoiding travel during the weather event if possible. Gusty winds on Monday may continue to produce areas of drifting snow, particularly where roads run along open terrain such as fields.
There is a risk of power outages, particularly for Nova Scotia.
High and gusty winds will accompany the heavy snow creating extensive blowing snow and drifts. There is a risk of power outages particularly in Nova Scotia where the strongest gusts are expected.
Gale to storm force winds will accompany the passage of the storm for many of the marine districts. The strongest of those winds will approach 50 knots, most likely for the Atlantic marine areas.
Seas of 4 to 8 metres are likely to accompany and follow the storm’s passage on Sunday night through to Monday morning for the Atlantic marine areas. It is possible that seas could reach over 8 to 10 metres for the eastern Scotian Slope and Laurentian Fan on Monday morning.
Anyone operating on the ocean should consult a more detailed marine forecast.
Gale to storm-force winds are expected for most of the marine districts as the storm moves through. High seas will build for Atlantic marine areas.
Environment Canada has issued a series of Special Weather Statements for Nova Scotia, P.E.I., and parts of New Brunswick. The public is encouraged to monitor the forecast and watch for warnings to be issued.
Meanwhile, have your shovels and snowblowers ready for Monday, plan for delays, and give yourself lots of time if you need to commute.
I’ll have another article update posted Sunday and will host the weather content for our television news programming on Sunday evening at 7 p.m., which will air on CTV 2.