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Powerful Storm Set for Wednesday

By: BwalshNLWeather , 6:31 PM GMT on March 25, 2014

Good afternoon,

After a 20 cm spring snowfall on the Avalon Monday, a stronger system is set to move towards Newfoundland on Wednesday, bringing a mix of snow, rain and very strong winds to all areas of the Island and Eastern Labrador.

A low currently developing off the Carolinas will undergo rapid intensification tonight as it tracks to the north, passing east of Halifax Wednesday evening, then over Western Newfoundland Thursday morning. The storm will bring blizzard conditions to much of the Maritime provinces on Wednesday; the snow will be changing to rain later Wednesday in eastern sections of Nova Scotia and PEI, but not before 30-40 cm of snow falls across much of the Maritimes, except Northern New Brunswick. Snow spreads across Newfoundland, from south to north, late Wednesday afternoon into the evening hours as the low approaches from the south. The snow will quickly intensify to moderate to heavy shortly after it begins and will be accompanied by east/southeast winds gusting in excess of 100 km/h, producing widespread whiteout conditions across the Island Wednesday evening. As the low moves east of Nova Scotia Wednesday night, a surge of warm air will move over the Island, allowing the snow to change through a brief period of ice pellets/freezing rain, to rain in most areas. However, all areas of the Island will likely see at least a few hours of blizzard conditions Wednesday evening prior to changing over to rain from southeast to northwest. Rain changes back to flurries on Thursday across the Island and gusty winds will continue, producing significant blowing and drifting snow, especially in open areas.

Timeline for St. John’s and the Northeast Avalon:
Wednesday 3 – 6 PM: Flurries developing late afternoon. Wind east/southeast 40 gusting to 70 km/h.
Wednesday 6 – 9 PM: Snow, at times heavy, and blowing snow. Snowfall amount 5-8 cm. Wind east/southeast 80 gusting to 120 km/h.
Wednesday 9 PM – Midnight: Snow, at times heavy, and blowing snow changing to rain. Risk of freezing rain. Snowfall amount 5-7 cm. Rainfall amount 2-4 mm. Wind east/southeast 80 gusting to 130 km/h.
Thursday Midnight – 3 AM: Rain and fog. Rainfall amount 10-15 mm. Wind southeast 60 gusting to 90 km/h.
Thursday 3 - 6 AM: Drizzle and fog. Wind south 40 gusting to 70 km/h.

Snowfall and Rainfall Amounts Wednesday/Thursday:
Avalon Peninsula: 8-15 cm snow / 10-20 mm rain
Burin/Bonavista/Clarenville: 12-18 cm snow / 10-20 mm rain
Central and South Coast: 15-25 cm snow / 5-10 mm rain
West Coast and Northern Peninsula: 20-30 cm snow / 5-10 mm rain
Eastern Labrador: 25-35 cm snow

As mentioned, many areas of the Island will see east/southeast winds gusting above 100 km/h Wednesday evening, with many coastal areas, including the Avalon, likely to see gusts of 120-140 km/h. The Wreckhouse area of Southwestern Newfoundland could see gusts up to 180 km/h Wednesday evening. Winds briefly diminish overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning near the low, however southerly gusts to 80 km/h still likely. As the low departs on Thursday, strong southwest to westerly winds move over the Island, particularly the South Coast and Avalon Peninsula, with gusts up to 100 km/h likely through the day. Winds very slowly diminish on Friday.

Waves/Storm Surge:
Very high waves will move onto Southern Newfoundland late Wednesday into Thursday with significant wave heights of 9-12 metres possible from the Connaigre Peninsula to the Southeastern Avalon. There is a risk of a storm surge occurring late Wednesday afternoon, near high tide, for areas near the Burin and Southern Avalon Peninsula. However, the highest risk for storm surge will be at high tide Thursday morning (between 6 and 7 AM) in these same areas. There is a chance of some localized flooding and damage to coastal infrastructure.

Outlook: After skies clear out Thursday night into Friday, another system follows for Friday night and Saturday. The low will be rather weak and may bring 5-10 cm of snow to parts of the Island, however there is a good chance that the snow will mix with, or change to, rain for Southern and Eastern Newfoundland.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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About BwalshNLWeather

Operations Manager and Meteorologist with Ice & Environmental Services at Provincial Aerospace Ltd. I've been weather forecasting since 2000.

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