ST. JOHN’S, NL — Batten the hatches: An intensifying low pressure system will move across the Maritimes and into Newfoundland and Labrador through Saturday and into Sunday.
“It’s going to be a very intense storm,” says SaltWire Network weather specialist Allister Aalders.
Aalders says the term “winter hurricane” used on social media isn’t entirely accurate, as hurricanes have a completely different structure and hurricane winds are usually sustained, but the province should be prepared to see some hurricane-force gusts of up to 150 kilometers per hour possible in Labrador and up to 140 km/h is possible for exposed coastal areas in Newfoundland.
“The patterns are that the system is rapidly strengthening as it moves towards Labrador and that’s really going to allow these strong and potentially damaging winds to blow for an extended period of time,” he said.
This prompted Environment Canada to issue a special weather statement for the entire island, warning of heavy rains and prolonged very strong winds.
There is also a warning for along the coast and interior of Labrador, where residents should expect blizzard conditions.
For Newfoundland, Aalder said, patchy snow bands are forecast ahead of the weather event early Saturday, with periods of snow changing to rain in Newfoundland Saturday afternoon and evening.
Snow is forecast in Labrador, mixing and changing to rain at times in the southeast.
Colder air, flooding behind the system, will turn rain showers to showers or snow on Sunday, with possible accumulation along west-facing coasts.
For those curious about the record low pressure of St. Anthony, Newfoundland/Canada, here is the section of the NMC North American surface map for January 21, 1977 at 0600 UTC. The low downshifted from the east, nearly made landfall, then retreated offshore. pic.twitter.com/dAXGY6DDVo
—David Roth (@DRmetwatch) March 11, 2022
Heavy rain, winds
Up to 60 to 80 millimeters are forecast on the south coast of Newfoundland, with 20 to 50 mm for the rest of the island in general, including St. John’s, except 10 to 20 mm on parts of the coast north and the Great Northern Peninsula, and 5-15 mm in southeastern Labrador.
“There are obviously fears of localized flooding with heavy rains during this period, but of course the intense winds could lead to power outages and local wind damage,” adds Aalders.
There are 20 to 40+ centimeters of snow forecast for most of Labrador, with lower amounts for western and northern Labrador in the 5 to 15 cm range.
Winds will be very intense with this storm, initially from a southeast/south direction for Newfoundland before changing to a southwesterly and possibly westerly wind through Sunday.
Maximum wind gusts of 80 to 100 km/h are forecast for the province, with gusts reaching over 120 km/h.
Stronger gusts are also possible in areas subject to enhanced terrain winds, and gusts up to 150 km/h are also possible for the Labrador coast on Sunday.
“It will really be a story of two extreme weather conditions for the province, heavy rain and high winds in Newfoundland, with heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions in Labrador,” Aalders said.
I’m not saying it’s definitely going to happen, but it’s a real possibility. Winds of 150 km/h are not a problem, especially if they last for hours at a stretch. Tie down everything you can, this storm is a monster. #nlwx #nltrafffic pic.twitter.com/muteJFWX39
— Johnathan Fitzpatrick (@JohnFitz424) March 11, 2022