A persistent storm on P.E.I. that dumped up to 60 centimetres of snow in some areas by Sunday evening has caused all schools to be cancelled and a possible delay in the provincial byelection in Borden-Kinkora.
Voters in District 19 were due to head to the polls beginning at 9 a.m., but Elections P.E.I. said it may have to be postponed due to safety reasons if the storm continues. It said it will make a decision by 7 a.m. on whether to open the polls.
The English and French school authorities made their decision Sunday evening to cancel classes in the morning.
"Due to the current and forecasted weather and travel conditions, all classes in the Public Schools Branch will be cancelled on Monday, February 5, 2024," the Public Schools Branch announced on its Facebook page.
The University of Prince Edward Island and Holland College will also be closed Monday because of storm conditions. The AVC Veterinary Teaching Hospital will be open for emergencies.
Up to 60 centimetres of snow had fallen in parts of Queens and Kings counties Friday though Sunday evening, and the storm will linger into Monday, said CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland.
"A strong north-northeasterly wind with 60 kilometre-an-hour to 80 km/h peak gusts will persist tonight into Monday morning, only beginning to ease gradually Monday afternoon — though still quite windy," Scotland said.
"This means that poor visibility due to blowing snow and messy roads due to significant drifting will remain a concern tonight through Monday. Conditions will improve further Monday night into Tuesday as the wind eases further and steady snow tapers off to lighter flurries."
Visibility on the roads was so poor Sunday afternoon that the Department of Transportation pulled plows off secondary roads until it was safe to continue. They continued to clear main roads, and said secondary plows would be redeployed in an emergency.
The department is reminding the public to slow down and not pass a plow if they approach one.
"Plows and cars do not mix well in this weather," it said in an email.
Nobody had to worry about yielding to cyclists at Victoria Park in Charlottetown Sunday morning. (Shane Ross/CBC)
RCMP said they have responded to a lot of calls over the weekend for "vehicles stuck in snow or abandoned vehicles" and advised motorists to stay off the roads if possible until conditions improve.
"There are some abandoned vehicles that are causing issues when combined with lack of visibility," RCMP said.
Route 2 between and Brookfield and Greenvale was closed for much of the morning due to a two-vehicle collision. One of the vehicles was a fuel truck, RCMP said, but there were no injuries and no fuel spillage.
Queens and Kings counties have been under Environment Canada special advisories since Friday.
Despite the snow and high winds, only 74 Maritime Electric customers were without power at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
All flights in and out of Charlottetown airport were cancelled Sunday, including the flight from Toronto that was due just past midnight.
The scene outside the Kiwanis Dairy Bar in Victoria Park on Sunday will look much different in a few months. (Shane Ross/CBC)