Valley residents were out in force Tuesday afternoon buying bread, milk and other essentials in anticipation of an intense spring snowstorm.
Staff at AccuWeather.com say they have been watching the track of a late-season storm forecast to hit Nova Scotia by Wednesday morning with interest.
“We don’t see too many like this,” the company’s senior meteorologist Brett Anderson said Tuesday afternoon from his base in Stormstown, Pennsylvania. “It’s likely to be an extreme event people will remember for some time.”
For up-to-date TC Media coverage of the storm, visit the live blog.
He said the intensity of the storm makes it unusual.
“There’s a lot of energy coming off the eastern coast of the U.S., hitting Atlantic waters and interacting with the Gulf Stream,” Anderson said, bringing heavy snow and winds like a Category 3 hurricane.
“The issue for your area, “ he said, “is that it will reach peak intensity off the coast of Nova Scotia. A lot of storms either peak further south or further north, but this one will peak right off Nova Scotia.”
Anderson said computer models show an “all-snow event” for the Valley area with 30 to 45 centimetres of snow possible.
“There will no doubt be spots in Nova Scotia that could get more, but with it blowing around like it will be, it’ll be almost impossible to measure,” he added.
While the storm is intense, Anderson disagrees with those who are calling it a replay of 2004’s White Juan.
“This storm is moving quickly, while ‘White Juan’ was slower-moving,” he said, so less snow will accumulate.
Anderson forecast the snow will end Wednesday night, but Valley residents can expect Thursday to continue to be windy and cold.
“Even as the storm passes by and diminishes, there will still be blowing and drifting snow through the night,” he said.
People should be prepared for the bad weather, which may lead to road closures, downed trees and power outages, Anderson said. “Make sure your car is full of gas, stock up on non-perishables, including water. Have fresh batteries on hand, and make sure your generator is working.”
On the positive side, sunshine should follow the storm, Anderson said, and then rain and double-digit temperatures are expected for Friday and Saturday.
The storm “may signal the end of the really cold weather,” he said, as intense systems like Wednesdays “usually mean a pattern change” in the weather.
Even the Accuweather staff is growing weary of the long winter, he noted.
“We have over 80 forecasters here. We’re thinking of throwing a party to celebrate the end of winter, when it (finally) comes.”