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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Only 5 Cm's of Snow So Far

No one will believe this. 

Environment Canada says a mere 5 centimetres of has fallen so far at the Saint John Airport.

Moncton is reporting 20 centimetres while Amherst, Nova Scotia has 30 to 40 centimetres of snow so far.

Meterologist Andy Firth tells CHSJ News we can expect the snow and strong winds to hang around it for a while.

He says the snow and winds will be the worst between now and midnight and then it will slowing start to dissipate.

The blizzard warning remains in effect and between today and tonight we could receive 45 centimetres in total.

3700 Are Off The Grid Now

More than 3700 are off the grid in the province thanks to the storm.

That includes over 800 in Titusville, Bains Corner and Baxter's Corner.

Over 1000 people are in the dark in the Moncton cluster.

The St. Stephen cluster has 9 outages impacting over 600 people.

To see further updates, click here

Criminals Use Storm As Opportunity

Saint John Police are on the scene after a enterprising criminals used the white-out conditions in the uptown to their advantage.

A coin and collectibles business on King Street had its window smashed out and some items were taken.

There was also damage done to the door of an adjacent clothing retailer.

Tow Trucks, Police Cars & Tractor Trailers Stuck & Abandoned

It truly is a dire situation on the roads out there.

Sergeant Jay Henderson of the city police is stressing once again: if you don't have to be out on the roads, you should absolutely  not be driving.

There are multiple tractor trailers that have been abandoned or crashed on the highway, as well as many cars abandoned uptown, which could interfere with snow clearing. Police cars have also gotten stuck.

Police services are down to bare bones with 1 car on each zone for emergency calls only, and even tow trucks are being taken off the roads.

A Section of Highway 1 Being Closed

Highway 1 is being shut down to all traffic in both directions between Lorneville to Musquash.  

NB Power Dealing With Outages Throughout The Province

About 523 people are currently without power in the province and that number may continue to climb with high winds expected throughout tonight and tomorrow. Throughout the day the numbers have fluctuated from a few hundred to as many as 1,700.

Most of those outages are in Grand Manan although there are some in the Sussex area as well.

Gerrish says they've touched bases with local contractors and have crews at the ready to respond as winds and storm conditions intensify.

You can check on the status of current outages using this link

VIDEO: Stormchasing In The Uptown

CHSJ's Julia Wright went out walking in a winter wonderland, capturing the wild winds and dramatic snowfall we've been experiencing in the uptown today.

VIDEO: Watch The Storm Get Worse

In whiteout conditions, the driving is not fit for man nor beast yet some are out in this.

City police responding to several collisions and it's not surprising since you can't see across the street in some cases.

The malls are closed and the buses are off the road.

NB power is reporting 135 customers are off the grid in Grand Manan, Chamcook and in Dobson's Corner.

The Princess of Acadia sailing tomorrow at 9am is cancelled from Saint John.

It's Purple Day

Each year an average of 15,500 people learn they have epilepsy....but due to the stigma surrounding the disorder, many are reluctant to admit it or to seek treatment.

Today is Purple Day which aims to increase public awareness of epilepsy.

For more information, click here.

Fredericton Police Keeping An Eye On The Storm

Emergency officials in Fredericton are keeping an eye on the intense blizzard.

They are suggesting if you don't need to drive then stay off the roads.

If you do need to go somewhere give yourself a lot of extra time to get there and stay off the roads during the worst parts of the storm.

Buses Being Pulled Off The Road This Afternoon

Saint John transit has let us know they will be pulling the buses off the roads starting at 4pm today.

(Pictured: a city bus in happier times)

What Do You Think Of The Plowing Situation?

It's not a day to be driving unless you absolutely have to--and just in time for the latest spring storm, MLA Bill Fraser and Transportation Minister Claude Williams butted heads in Question Period over provincial roads and highways are kept clear enough.

Fraser claims the Tories paid big bucks to a consultant who advised cuts to plows and sanding--but Williams says the Fraser needs to get his facts straight because there haven't been any cuts.

Taxpayers have been complaining according to Fraser....but the transportation minister says CUPE hasn't  forwarded the complaints to his office.

Quispamsis Supports Changing Role For Volunteer Firefighters

Quispamsis Council is supporting the decision to change the role of volunteer firefighters which has caused some controversy in the Kennebecasis Valley. 

Mayor Murray Driscoll is hoping Fire Chief Bill Ireland is correct when he estimates the fire department's new model is expected to save 75 thousand dollars.

Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop has questioned whether removing volunteers from front line fire duties will save any money. 

Driscoll says one problem has been the availability of the volunteers when they were needed because of their other commitments since you never know when a fire will break out.

The Storm Begins

The winds have picked up in Uptown Saint John and it's snowing.

Environment Canada reporting wind gusts of 71 km/hour at noon.

A blizzard warning remains in effect with 20-30 centimetres of snow today and another 10 centimetres tonight.

City police are telling motorists to stay off the roads today due to poor driving conditions.

Many employers told their workers to stay home today or their offices are closing early.   

Flights are delayed or cancelled at the Saint John Airport so best to check ahead before making the trek out in this weather.

To see our growing list of cancellations, click  here

Parking Meter Thieves Pocket $10,000

Some thieves have been literally ripping off parking meters in the uptown, with 19 meters stolen on Sydney and Charlotte Streets since January of this year alone to the tune of over $10,000. That value doesn't include any of the money that would have been deposited in the meters.

Sergeant Jay Henderson explains the problem seems to be getting worse with 12 meters stolen in the last week, and 5 last weekend.

Police are asking anyone with any information that could assist them in their investigation is being asked to contact the Saint John Police Force at 648-3333 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)


School Closures For Wednesday March 26th

All schools in the Anglophone South School District from Sussex to St. Stephen, including Saint John, are closed today. Francophone South has closed its schools and the New Brunswick Community College in Saint John and St. Andrews is closed. Eastern College and Eastern Trades College are also shut down for the day.

In the Anglophone West School District, schools in zones 3 to 9 are closed today in Canterbury, Nackawic, Burtts Corner, Millville, Woodstock, Hartland, Debec, McAdam, Harvey, Stanley, Boiestown, Doaktown, the  Greater Fredericton area including New Maryland, Keswick Ridge and Nashwaak Valley, Oromocto, Geary, Burton, Lower Lincoln, Sunbury West, Chipman, Minto, Cambridge-Narrows, Coles Island and Gagetown.

Travel Disrupted By Nor'easter

The forecasted storm will disrupt air travel in and out of Saint John today. The airport is reporting only two flights are scheduled to arrive.......The 10:54 morning flight from Montreal and the late one tonight at 11:25 from Montreal. The rest have all been cancelled.

Just three flights will be departing......The first two early morning flights to Toronto and Montreal and the one at 11:15 this morning to Montreal with the others being cancelled.

Maritime Bus cancelling its service for the day.