Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Blizzard Deals Wintry Smack to Maritimes, Bringing Region to Virtual Standstill

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Blizzard Deals Wintry Smack to Maritimes, Bringing Region to Virtual Standstill

Article excerpt

Blizzard deals wintry smack to Maritimes

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HALIFAX - The Maritime provinces were dealt a wintry wallop Friday as a blizzard bore down on the region all day, forcing the cancellation of flights, interrupting public transit and closing roads, government offices, universities and businesses.

Whiteouts prompted police to urge the public to stay off the roads as plow operators undertook the frustrating task of clearing snow, only to have wind-whipped drifts quickly build back up.

"It's a doozy," said Halifax Mayor Mike Savage. "A lot of Halifax just didn't open up this morning."

James Rogers, a federal civil servant, arrived at work in the city only to be told to go back home.

He said the nasty weather wasn't surprising given the time of year, but he urged drivers to pay more attention after he had a close call.

"I nearly got hit by a driver going down a one-way street incorrectly," said Rogers, bundled up in a fur-lined, hooded parka. "It's a little hard for people with hoods to see what's going on around them. I got lucky."

Bus service in Halifax was suspended for the day, and in Toronto, that city's public transit service said the extreme cold forced it to pull about 50 streetcars from the roads during their morning and afternoon rush hours. That represents roughly a quarter of its fleet of 195 for its peak hours of service, the Toronto Transit Commission said.

The storm that swept into Atlantic Canada hit Nova Scotia particularly hard, where retail outlets including liquor stores in Halifax, the Annapolis Valley and the South Shore were closed early.

Numerous flight delays and cancellations were reported in Halifax, Charlottetown and Moncton, N.B. Post-secondary schools including Dalhousie University, St. Mary's University and l'Universite du Moncton were shut down.

There were reports of local flooding along Nova Scotia's Atlantic coast near Liverpool, N.S., because of higher-than-normal water levels and heavy, pounding surf.

Environment Canada meteorologist Paula Sutherland said the cold temperatures were to blame for creating extremely light, fluffy snow -- the kind that is easily whipped up by strong winds. …

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