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How does this week's N.S. snowstorm compare to White Juan and other recent winter wallops?

A recap shows unofficial totals from last weekend's massive snow storm in Nova Scotia. (CBC - image credit)
A recap shows unofficial totals from last weekend's massive snow storm in Nova Scotia. (CBC - image credit)

As Nova Scotians across central and eastern areas of the province continue to dig out from the latest snowstorm, many folks are thinking back to previous winter wallops.

There's no doubt, with widespread totals of 60 to 90 centimetres of snow across eastern areas and up to 150 centimetres recorded in Sydney, this storm ranks right near the top of the list for recent snowstorms that have hit the province.

A snow-covered truck in Middle Sackville, N.S. Not pictured: the Mazda 5 parked at the tailgate of the truck.
A snow-covered truck in Middle Sackville, N.S. Not pictured: the Mazda 5 parked at the tailgate of the truck.

A snow-covered truck in Middle Sackville, N.S., this week. There is a Mazda 5 parked at the tailgate of the truck that's invisible under the snow. (Erin Tramble)

Here are a few other notable snowstorms from the last few decades that may take you on a trip down memory lane.

Blizzard of February 2017

The most recent storm that comes to mind is the blizzard of February 2017. This storm brought record-breaking snowfalls of 66 centimetres at the Halifax airport and 61 centimetres at Greenwood, with a widespread 40-60 centimetres elsewhere.

Blowing snow buries most of a deck and half a house during a blizzard in February 2017.
Blowing snow buries most of a deck and half a house during a blizzard in February 2017.

Blowing snow buries most of a deck and half a house during a blizzard in February 2017. (Courtesy Mark Pineo)

The storm's peak snowfall was in New Brunswick where 79 centimetres fell at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown. This storm also brought very strong winds, with gusts up to 146 km/h at Halifax Kootenay and widespread gusts of 90-110 km/h elsewhere.

March Madness 2015

If you were in Nova Scotia in January, February and March of 2015 then you remember how wild it was. Storm after storm tracked through the region and the province became encased in ice and snow.

However within that winter, the four-day stretch from March 15-18 really stands out. Back-to-back storms hit the province dropping 70 to 100 centimetres in the Halifax area and near 100 centimetres in the Sydney area.

Blizzard of 2005

With a storm track just south of the province, the late January blizzard of 2005 brought a widespread 40 to 70 centimetres of snow from Yarmouth to Halifax to Sydney. Both Greenwood at 65 centimetres and Yarmouth at 67 centimetres broke one-day snowfall records for the month of January.

Blizzard conditions in Halifax on January 23rd, 2005
Blizzard conditions in Halifax on January 23rd, 2005

Blizzard conditions in Halifax on Jan. 23, 2005 (CBC)

This storm also brought strong winds with blowing and drifting snow. Most of the province saw gusts of 90 to 100 km/h, with gusts up to 130 km/h at Baccaro Point in the southwest.

White Juan in 2004

This month is the 20th anniversary of White Juan. This past weekend's storm is the most severe since White Juan In terms of impacts from heavy snowfall. The February 2004 storm brought totals of 60 to 90 centimetres of snow, with western and central areas of Nova Scotia hardest hit.

White Juan was a faster-moving storm and brought all of that snow in a period of 20 to 30 hours as it tracked through on Feb. 18-19, 2004. Snowfall rates of up to five centimetres per hour were recorded. A state of emergency was declared for the province.

The blizzard of Feb. 18-19, 2004 — nicknamed "White Juan" — dumped 50 to 70 cm of snow on Nova Scotia, paralyzing the province and forcing a state of emergency to be declared.
The blizzard of Feb. 18-19, 2004 — nicknamed "White Juan" — dumped 50 to 70 cm of snow on Nova Scotia, paralyzing the province and forcing a state of emergency to be declared.

The blizzard of Feb. 18-19, 2004 — nicknamed "White Juan" — paralyzed the province and forced a state of emergency to be declared. (CBC)

White Juan also brought blizzard conditions with strong winds gusting 80 to 100 km/h for most areas and near 120 km/h on the coast. Storm surge also caused flooding in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Northumberland Strait.

If we were to go back further than a decade, a comparable snowstorm would be the blizzard of 1992. That storm was also a multi-day event which hit the eastern Maritimes particularly hard.

In fact for the Sydney area, this past weekend's storm was the heaviest snow event in the city since the '92 blizzard brought 102 centimetres from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4.

These of course are only the recent heavy snowstorms.

We could do an entire separate list of recent winter storms which brought severe winds or flooding, however that's a story for another day.

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