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Weary East Coast braces for the next storm as it digs out from the last

Residents of Gower Street, St. John's NL dig out for the second consecutive day on February 15, 2017. Schools and businesses were closed again as blizzard conditions continue over the Avalon Peninsula. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

Residents of Gower Street, St. John's NL dig out for the second consecutive day on February 15, 2017. Schools and businesses were closed again as blizzard conditions continue over the Avalon Peninsula. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — The snow just kept falling on Paradise.

"It started yesterday morning, slowed down last night and then picked up again and now we're all snowed in again!" Darren Byrne said with a sigh Wednesday from Paradise, a small community outside St. John's which he estimated got about 60 cm of snow.

"Yes my love, there's probably eight feet of snow in the driveway in front of my car!"

The blizzard that walloped the Maritimes Monday and Tuesday took a second bruising swipe at eastern Newfoundland on Wednesday, dumping mounds of snow and unleashing strong winds on a region already weary from a series of powerful storms.

Meantime, another storm was heading for Atlantic Canada on Thursday, prompting Environment Canada to post storm warnings for much of western Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and southern and eastern New Brunswick.

The agency said another 15 to 30 cm could fall in those areas after it arrives sometime around midnight Wednesday and turns to freezing rain in some parts.

In Newfoundland, Byrne stared out at the growing piles of snow before heading out for the next round of snowclearing, already sounding defeated by the persistent pest. About 60 cm of snow had been dumped on some parts of the Avalon peninsula.

Byrne, a tractor trailer driver, said driving was treacherous due to whiteouts and snow-caked roads.

David Neil, a meteorologist with Environment Canada in central Newfoundland, said on Tuesday winds gusted to 110 km/h in areas like Cape Race, Burgeo and the Connaigre peninsula but had dropped to about 80 km/h in most affected areas.

He said the St. John's area was expected to get more than 60 cm of snow by the time the system moved out later Wednesday, while Gander recorded about 30 cm, raising the snowfall there to almost 100 cm so far this winter.

Neil said it's not unusual to get that much snow, but this system hung around for a long time, covered a wide area and is being followed in quick succession by another one.

"These systems aren't out of the ordinary, but they are on the upper end of the severity scale," he said from Gander. "It is a significant storm."

Schools and universities were closed for a second day and many public services in St. John's weren't operating, with buses suspending their service possibly until later in the day. Dozens of flights were cancelled or delayed at the St. John's airport and police were warning drivers that conditions were hazardous on many roads.

Roy Drake, mayor of Harbour Breton on the province's south coast, said winds had eased but were howling at about 120 km/h Tuesday, when he spent about five hours clearing snow and battling the growing drifts.

"The highway going out of Harbour Breton was pretty much unpassable," he said.

Vast areas of the Maritimes were snowed under Monday from the blizzard that dumped almost 80 cm of snow at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in central New Brunswick, with wind gusts reaching 120 km/h along the coast near Halifax.

Marine Atlantic, the ferry service that links Nova Scotia with Newfoundland, cancelled crossings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Schools, government offices and many businesses were closed for a second day throughout Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and New Brunswick on Tuesday, but things were slowly getting back to normal as plows began clearing mountains of snow that clogged sidewalks and residential streets throughout the region.

Monday's snowfall broke some decades-old daily records in the Maritimes, with the Halifax area officially received 50 centimetres in total, breaking the previous record for Feb. 13 of about 37 centimetres from 1953.

- By Alison Auld in Halifax

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