By Katherine George
The local state of emergency issued in Saint John, N.B., ended on Tuesday morning.
The province has been hit with four significant storms in the past week.
It’s the incredible amounts of snowfall over the past week that were the big concern, said Geoff Coulson, a meteorologist of Environment Canada in Ontario.
“These are snow numbers they wouldn’t see very often. Four storms back to back is quite rare,” he said.
The latest blizzard dumped over 40 cm on both Saint John and Moncton. Saint John has got 128 centimeters of snow in the past week, and Moncton just under 139 cm.
Each winter the Maritimes bears the brunt of storms flooding up the east coast, but this past week the storms seemed to just keep coming, said Coulson.
“It is somewhat unusual, but it isn’t necessarily any record breaking conditions,” said Claude Cote, a meteorologist with Environment Canada in Fredericton.
However, snowfall in the southern part of the province is three to four times more the normal amount, said Cote.
To prepare for severe weather conditions Environment Canada has a series of preparations, such as special weather statements, winter storm watches and winter storm warnings to inform members of the general public that these storms could be approaching, said Coulson.
In most cases, extreme weather emergencies are handled at a municipal level. As the severity increases – that’s when other levels of government become involved, he said.
“Technology allows us to do a better job forecasting these large winter storms. We have better computer models to track the possibility of storms five to six days in advance,” said Coulson.
It still isn’t an exact science, said Coulson, a small shift in storm tracking can cause large differences in terms of who gets large amounts of snow.