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Deep freeze hits Newfoundland, while northern Labrador battles blizzard

Freezing temperatures have put all of Newfoundland and parts of Labrador under an extreme cold warning, while northern Labrador is facing a blizzard that could dump 80 centimetres of snow in some areas.

Environment Canada has wind chills between -30 and -35 in the forecast across the island Saturday, with the coldest temperatures in late morning or early afternoon, according to Justin Boudreau, a meteorologist at the Gander weather office.

“As the day goes on, temperatures should increase and the wind chills should get a little bit better, mind you, it’s still going to be pretty windy and cold.” he said.

Boudreau said the cold weather is expected to continue through the weekend.

“We are expecting temperatures to moderate into the evening, but then they are going to fall again on Sunday morning, but they’re not going to be anywhere as bad as they have been today,” he said.

“I don’t think we’re expecting any mild temperatures on the horizon per se, but I think early in the week we could get above zero, at least in the southeast.”

Parts of Newfoundland should also see “healthy flurries” and snow squalls, Boudreau said, with squalls potentially sweeping into central Newfoundland on Saturday evening.

“It’s predominantly on the west coast, that’s where the major stuff is, and on the south coast,” he said.

“Visibility is going to be basically up and down all day.”

The RCMP is advising drivers to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. Police warned of whiteout conditions and poor winter driving on highways right across the province. 

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro tweeted Saturday that there could be “an all-time high electricity system peak” as a result of the weather, and encouraged customers to be energy efficient where possible.

About 2,900 Newfoundland Power customers were without power due to severe weather conditions as ot 4 p.m. Saturday.

Blizzard warning for northern Labrador

Meanwhile, plenty of snow and high winds are expected for the north coast of Labrador.

Environment Canada’s blizzard warning says between 60 and 80 centimetres of snow could drop on Postville, Makkovik and Hopedale, with snowfall amounts declining further north.

Strong northwesterly wind gusts and wind chills near -45 are also expected.

“We’re expecting [the winds] to increase to about 130 along a lot of the coastal areas today, so visibility will be basically zero,” Boudreau said.

In a Facebook post Saturday, the Town of Labrador City said it is preparing warming centres at A.P. Low Primary and Menihek High schools. The town says citizens can contact the Labrador City Fire Department for assistance. 

Temperatures will feel like -50 with the wind chill in Labrador City and Wabush on Saturday.

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