Maritimers deal with New Year’s storm

On Tuesday, a winter storm making its way across the country put a damper on many New Years’ Eve plans. In Moncton, winds were heavy, and road conditions were slick, with many people opting to stay at home to avoid the mixed bag of weather.

The cross-Canada storm, which began in Ontario, brought a powerful mess of ice, making for a rough commute and a messy kick-off to New Year’s celebrations.  

A freezing rain warning was in effect throughout much of Ontario before the storm made its way east to the Maritimes, where delays and cancellations were also to blame because of the weather.

“If Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa are affected, it dominoes into our region,” says Greater Moncton International Airport corporate communications specialist, Julie Pondant. “And the same thing goes for the outgoing flights; so, if they’re delayed coming in, they may be a tad bit delayed going out.”

It was a clear start to the day across the Maritimes, with snow picking up mid-afternoon.

In Halifax, snowplough crews were out in full force, ensuring road conditions were prepped for the upcoming storm.

“Winter operations crews remain on standby in anticipation of this evening’s weather event,” says Halifax Regional Municipality senior communications advisor, Erin DiCarlo. “Liquid brine has been applied to streets across the region and equipment has been serviced and is ready to go.”

HRM staff also prepared for a celebration in Grand Parade, which they note 10,000 people attend annually for live performances and fireworks. However, whether or not the festivities would take place was the number-one question on the minds of many.

“Our show doesn’t start until 11 p.m.,” said Halifax Regional Municipality civic events coordinator, Billy Comer. “”We feel that we’ll probably be great around that time. Winds will be the factor.”

However, in Sydney, N.S., wicked weather destroyed all hope of an outdoor concert and fireworks. Despite snow and ice, the event was canceled due to high winds – gusting up to 40km per hour.

“It also makes it difficult for the stage set up, the tents and stage set up, the heaters and all the rest of it,” says Cape Breton Regional Municipality communications officer, Sheilah MacDonald.

Fortunately, a free public skate indoors at Centre 200 saved the day, with many people opting to celebrate at the community ice rink.

In Moncton, many people’s New Years’ plans consisted of everything but going out in the weather.

“I was planning on staying in,” says Moncton resident, John Freeborn. “I haven’t got anywhere to go really, and I’m all by myself, so I’m fine.”

“As long as I have power to stay home and watch a movie,” says Moncton resident, Shirley Northrup. “Hopefully, I’ll stay awake to bring in the New Year.”

Heavy winds and whiteout conditions turned the appeal away from leaving home on Tuesday night.

“You don’t want to go out in the storm, so you’d rather stay home and have people over,” says Moncton resident, Ariane Michaud.

However, residents note they know for a fact the mixed bag of freezing rain and slick roads won’t keep everyone inside.

“Those who throw caution to the wind will be out no matter what,” says Northrup.

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