CORNER BROOK Western Newfoundland, from Port aux Basques to St. Anthony, is readying for a blizzard set to strike the region this afternoon.
Several schools throughout the region, mostly in the southwestern portion of the island between Port aux Basques and Stephenville, never opened this morning and have since announced they will remain closed for the rest of the day.
Other schools in the Bay of Islands area, not including those under the Corner Brook system, opened this morning but have since decided to close for the afternoon.
According to Environment Canada, significant snowfall and strong winds will cause blizzard conditions today, tonight and Thursday morning. The blizzard warning advises that near-zero visibilities are expected in the affected region.
A low pressure system south of Cape Cod will rapidly intensify as it approaches Newfoundland today.
For areas under the blizzard warning, snow ‚ÄĒ at times heavy ‚ÄĒ has already begun to fall in parts of central, southern and western Newfoundland and will spread northward to the Northern Peninsula by late afternoon. Total snowfall accumulations of 15 to 30 centimetres are forecast by Thursday morning.
Strong northeasterly winds are expected to develop this afternoon in the southwest and will spread to the north by this evening. Freshly fallen snow, cold temperatures and very strong winds are expected to combine to reduce visibilities to near zero in blowing snow.
Conditions are forecast to improve by noon Thursday for most areas. Additionally, wind gusts of 100 kilometres per hour are expected in the Burgeo area tonight and for the province‚Äôs northeast coast late overnight and Thursday morning.
Marine Atlantic has cancelled all of its ferry runs to and from Port aux Basques and North Sydney for at least today. The MV Apollo is still listed as departing from Blanc Sablon at 12:30 p.m. and from St. Barbe, with passenger space limited, on a dangerous goods run at 2 p.m.
The Department of Transportation and Works last updated highway conditions in western Newfoundland at around 6:30 a.m. At the time, roads were snow-covered with visibility listed as fair to good, with the exception of being poor between Plum Point and Roddickton on the Northern Peninsula.
Those driving conditions are expected to deteriorate as the day progresses and the blizzard moves in.
Air Canada has cancelled two flights into Deer Lake from Halifax for this afternoon. Subsequently, the return flights from Deer Lake to Halifax have also been cancelled for today.