HALIFAX - Nova Scotians should prepare for a possible significant freezing rain event beginning Saturday and continuing into Christmas week.
Environment Canada is predicting rain followed by a sudden drop in temperature that could affect power lines and make driving dangerous.
"It's a busy time of year for many people, but I want to encourage Nova Scotians to take time to make emergency preparations," said Lena Diab, Minister responsible for the Emergency Management Office, in a news release. "Everyone should have an emergency kit ready with essentials to last at least 72 hours."
Snow and rain is expected to begin today, Dec. 20, and may turn to freezing rain by Sunday. In some regions of the province, 45 mm of freezing rain is expected.
"Our crews and winter equipment will be out in full force," said Geoff MacLellan, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. "Based on the weather reports we're hearing now, staff expect clearing the roads will be a challenge because of the fluctuating temperatures. Road conditions could still be extremely slippery during the periods of rain and freezing, especially on local gravel roads. We urge you to stay off the roads altogether if you can."
If people must travel, motorists are advised to check road conditions by phoning 511, viewing provincial highway cameras online or by visiting http://511.gov.ns.ca/ .
Twitter will also be used to distribute information. Follow at @nsemo for emergency information or @NS_TIR for road condition or closure updates.
"RCMP are reminding motorists to listen to weather forecasts and plan ahead," said RCMP Sgt. Alain LeBlanc. "If you must travel, remember to refrain from using cruise control on icy roads, keep your vehicle lights on, and mirrors and windshield clean of snow."
As the freezing rain may result in power outages, Nova Scotians are encouraged to prepare an emergency kit that includes at least two litres of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight and portable radio, and a first-aid kit. For more information on preparation visit http://novascotia.ca/emo .