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Canada's top ten weather stories of 2014

Atlantic - Regional Highlights

1. Lights Out!

More than 20,000 customers in Nova Scotia were left in the dark on January 11-12 after 60 mm of heavy rains and 15 mm of freezing rain – all driven by strong winds gusting over 100 km/h – pounded the region. Roads were flooded, city streets were littered with tree limbs, signage, garbage cans and other debris, and flights and ferry crossings were either delayed or cancelled. The same storm also brought several hours of freezing rain to New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

2. From Blizzard to Thundersnow

A nasty nor’easter featuring powerful winds, heavy snow and widespread whiteouts whipped through the Maritimes on January 21-22. Charlottetown suffered the worst conditions with more than 37 cm of snow and winds gusting over 70 km/h in blizzard-like conditions. Businesses, hospital services, schools and government offices were shuttered down. Flights and ferry crossings were delayed or cancelled. The nasty system continued to intensify as it crossed central Newfoundland and headed out to sea. Over eastern Newfoundland, snow changed to ice pellets, freezing rain and rain in a rare winter thundersnow.

3. Valentine Week Storms

A Valentine’s Day storm rapidly made its way up the Eastern Seaboard dropping as much as 35 cm of snow in New Brunswick and 50 mm of rain in Nova Scotia. The mix of snow, rain and freezing rain buffeted by fierce winds between 80 and 100 km/h closed schools and left thousands of customers without power. Conditions were especially blustery in Newfoundland, where coastal residents faced the added peril of high waves and pounding surf. The worst weather occurred at North Point, where 104 cm of snow fell, and Wreckhouse (which is often the case), where wind gusts reached 170 km/h. Even Sunday church services were cancelled to encourage people to stay off the roads in the bad weather. Two days later, a second more massive and powerful storm with a mix of precipitation caused several multi-vehicle pileups that shut down the Confederation Bridge. Snowdrifts were high enough to completely bury cars and some drivers simply abandoned their vehicles – even in the middle of roadways. Notable storm statistics included 35 to 40 cm of snow between Moncton and Miramichi and gusty winds of 140 km/h at Sagona Island.

4. Near-record Winter Snows in PEI

Prince Edward Island took a pounding all winter from frequent heavy snowfalls that resulted in records or near-records being set. At Charlottetown, the seasonal snow total amounted to 418.4 cm. Normal winter snows in the city usually measure in at around 290 cm, with an average of one snowfall per winter dumping more than 25 cm. This year there were four dumps of at least 25 cm. Even school kids were getting restless with the novelty of snow days wearing off. In March there were more snow days than school days.

5. A Rain-filled Nor-Easter

On October 22, a slow-moving storm passed through the Maritimes. The heaviest downpours were between 100 and 160 mm, which – partnered with high winds – pummeled southeastern New Brunswick. Flooding occurred in low-lying areas with motorists experiencing hydroplaning. Top winds were reported at Cape Sable Island (189 km/h), while the greatest rainfalls over four days were recorded at Grand Manan (162 mm), Yarmouth (109 mm) and Baccaro Point (137 mm).

6. More NB Power Outages

On the first day of November, an intense storm that formed off Cape Hatteras and tracked northward spreading 20 to 30 cm of snow over central and northern New Brunswick and 40 to 70 mm of cold rain over southern portions of the province. With the snows came more power outages to thousands of customers. The weather also brought wind gusts of 90 km/h to southwestern Nova Scotia. In Prince Edward Island, pounding surf along the northern coast was an added peril. In Newfoundland, between 38 and 72 mm of rain driven by winds between 72 and 109 km/h blew across the island.

7. Early Nor'easter

The first nor’easter of the season approached the Maritimes on November 26 and tracked across Nova Scotia. Rain began over the Fundy region and snow spread across eastern and northern sections of New Brunswick, with ice pellets and freezing rain over the extreme southern sections. In the three biggest cities in New Brunswick, between 30 and 32 cm of snow fell. Despite lots of lead time and preparations, about 52,000 customers lost power as temperatures fell well below zero – mostly in the Fredericton to Sussex region. Schools and college classes were cancelled, flights and ferry services were delayed, and driving was treacherous across much of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

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