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Winter storm slams Eastern Canada, causing power outages, flash freeze warnings

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A winter storm that pummelled Atlantic Canada over the weekend and into Monday morning has caused flash freeze warnings and flooding, as temperatures have dropped across the region, and there are extreme cold warnings in other parts of the country.

The eastern storm also brought ice pellets, freezing rain and snow — forcing many flight cancellations, school closures and travel advisories across the Maritimes.

In New Brunswick, CBC meteorologist Tina Simpkin said there were pockets of heavy snowfall, with total accumulation of about 35 centimetres.

Thousands of NB Power customers have also been left in the dark early Monday, with more than 3,000 customers without electricity.

Marc Belliveau, a spokesperson for NB Power, said freezing rain is causing trees and branches to make contact with power lines.

“We will return to restoration efforts at daybreak, but bad road conditions are an issue right now in accessing areas,” he said.

Although the storm is moving eastward, Simpkin said, it producing rain over the eastern half of the Maritimes.

“Cold air is moving in behind the system and temperatures will drop below freezing this afternoon [Monday],” she said.

“A lot of cleanup I’m sure going on within the next 24 [to] 48 hours.”

Simpkin said though other areas are not included in the Environment Canada flash freeze warnings, all of mainland Nova Scotia will see a rapid drop in temperatures below zero.

Freezing temperatures over the last few weeks have kept the ground frozen, even as temperatures climbed into the plus-double digits on Sunday, resulting in flooding in some areas.

On Prince Edward Island, standing water could quickly turn to glare ice in the flash freeze. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

The Halifax area received about five centimetres of snow on Sunday before the rain started, totalling more than 50 millimetres.

All that rain onto frozen ground caused localized flooding in some areas, forcing the City of Halifax to close one of the off-ramps from the MacKay Bridge.

Streets, sidewalks covered in water

Heavy rainfall over frozen ground caused flooding, which closed the Barrington Street off ramp of the MacKay Bridge on Monday morning in Halifax. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

On Monday, temperatures are expected to drop once again before many surfaces have a chance to dry.

Temperatures were already creeping below zero in southwestern Nova Scotia before 7 a.m. AT on Monday.

Temperatures fluctuated wildly over Eastern Canada on Sunday, from as low as –42 C in Fontages, Que., to as high as 12 C in Greenwood, N.S., according to Environment Canada.

On Prince Edward Island, the storm brought 11 centimetres of snow and 13 millimetres of rain to Charlottetown Airport on Sunday, and it’s the rain that followed the snow that has become an issue.

Temperatures climbed to 8 C overnight, and streets, roads and sidewalks have been covered in standing water.

The temperature is forecast to dive to –6 C by mid-afternoon and –13 C overnight, prompting a flash freeze warning from Environment Canada.

“It’s slippery conditions. With the rain that we had yesterday, it’s hard to treat the roadways,” said Simpkin.

Extreme cold warnings for Ontario, Quebec

All schools in New Brunswick are closed Monday as a winter storm persists across the province. (Colin McPhail/CBC)

In other parts of the country, Ontario and most of Quebec are under extreme cold warnings.

Environment Canada said wind chill values of –30 C to –38 C will persist throughout the morning in some parts of Ontario.

Ottawa-Gatineau remains caught in January’s brutally cold grip, with Monday’s forecast calling for a high of only –17 C and winds that would make conditions feel between 10 and 20 degrees colder.

Monday night’s low is expected to dip to around  –27 C, and that means it could only take minutes for frostbite to set in.

If you’re parking outside this winter, check these five ways to keep your car from freezing up. 2:19

The overnight wind chill is expected to bottom out at –36 C.

In Toronto, the cold snap isn’t over yet, either. 

Monday will bring sunny skies and a high of –12 C, but with the wind chill, that would feel more like –33 C in the morning and –20 C in the afternoon.

In the early morning, the cold has prompted school bus cancellations around the Greater Toronto Area, with boards concerned about students waiting outside for their buses. 

Environment Canada also warns about the risk of frostbite, saying exposed skin can freeze within just a few minutes. 

The Montreal area was pelted with 25 centimetres of snow over the weekend, and low temperatures persist Monday.

Environment Canada has called for periods of light snowfall during the day until late afternoon, with a low of –20 C.

With the wind chill, however, the weather agency warned it could feel as cold as –33 C with a risk of frostbite.

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Ottawa Book Expo 2020 – Authors, Publishers look forward to a top-notch Canadian book fair

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Diversity has always been a complex issue, no matter where you look.Case in point, world-famous writer, Stephen King, has recently come under criticism for his views on diversity. The best-selling author had stated, “I would never consider diversity in matters of art, only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.” Many criticized the novelist as being out of touch and “ignorant,” but one cannot deny that King’s opinions on diversity, mirror the thoughts of a whole lot of people in the creative industry.

The Toronto Book Expo is coming back in 2020, with a multi-cultural concept that aims to include marginalized authors.  The Expo intends to celebrate literary works of diverse cultural backgrounds, and the entire literary community in Canada is expectant. Book-lovers and writers alike, are invited to three days of uninhibited literary celebration where diverse cultural works will be prioritized. At the event, authors will be allowed to share their culture with a broad audience. The audience will be there specifically to purchase multi-cultural works.

Multicultural literary expos do not come every day. In Canada, there is a noticeable lack of literary events celebrating other cultures. This leads to a significantly lower amount of cultural diversity in the industry. The Toronto Book Expo would aim at giving more recognition to these marginalized voices. Understandably, more recognizable work will be prioritized.

The Toronto Book Expo is making a statement that diversity is needed in the literary community. The statement is truly motivating, especially if you consider the fact that this could mean more culturally diverse works of literature.

There is a lot of noticeable cultural ignorance in literature. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and books are one of the best means of improving multi-cultural diversity in literature. The Toronto Book Expo is going to fully utilize books to fight ignorance in the literary industry.

Real progress cannot be made if there is a substantial amount of ignorant people in the industry. In spite of advancements made in education in recent years, there is still a considerable percentage of adults who remain unable to read and write.The Toronto Book Expo aims to bring awareness to social literacy issues such as illiteracy.

It is important to uphold high literacy levels in the community and to support those who are uneducated. A thriving society cannot be achieved if the community is not able to read their civil liberties and write down their grievances.

The major foundation of a working and dynamic society is entrenched in literature. Literature offers us an understandingof the changes being made to our community.

The event would go on for three days at three different venues. Day 1 would hold at the York University Student & Convention Centre at 15 Library Lane on March 19. Day 2 would be held at the Bram and BlumaAppel Salon Facility on the second floor of the main Toronto Reference Library near Yonge and Bloor Streets in downtown Toronto on March 21 and day 3 of the expo would take place at the internationally famous Roy Thomson Hall.

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A Week In Ottawa, ON, On A $75,300 Salary

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Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.Attention, Canadians! We’re featuring Money Diaries from across Canada on a regular basis, and we want to hear from you. Submit your Money Diary here.Today: a biologist working in government who makes $75,300 per year and spends some of her money this week on a bathing suit. Occupation: Biologist
Industry: Government
Age: 27
Location: Ottawa, ON
Salary: $75,300
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,930
Gender Identity: Woman

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Ottawa doctor pens nursery rhyme to teach proper handwashing

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An Ottawa doctor has turned to song to teach kids — and adults, for that matter — how to wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs.

Dr. Nisha Thampi, an infectious disease physician at CHEO, the area’s children’s hospital, created a video set to the tune of Frère Jacques and featuring the six-step handwashing method recommended by the World Health Organization.

Thampi’s 25-second rendition, which was co-authored by her daughter and Dr. Yves Longtin, an infectious disease specialist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, is featured in the December issue of The BMJ, or British Medical Journal. 

Thampi said as an infectious disease physician and a mother of two, she thinks a lot about germs at home and school.

“I was trying to find a fun way to remember the stuff,” she said. “There are six steps that have been codified by the World Health Organization, but they’re complex and hard to remember.” 

Thampi said she came up with the idea to rewrite the lyrics to the nursery rhyme on World Hand Hygiene Day in May, when she was thinking about how to help people remember the technique. 

She said studies have shown that handwashing is effective in reducing the risk of diarrhea-related illnesses and respiratory diseases. 

“So I’d say it’s one of the most important and easiest things we can do.”

The video includes such often-overlooked steps as “wash the back,” “twirl the tips around” and “thumb attack,” which pays special attention to the first digit.

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