North America is currently feeling the adverse effects of two major weather systems hitting both sides of the continent. There has been flooding and heavy snowfall for the Pacific Northwest and western Canada, and snow sweeping across New York and New England.

The heavy rain has been rolling into Oregon, Washington and British Columbia (BC) for more than a week on the southwesterly winds - commonly known as the Pineapple Express - feeding all the way back to the pineapple fields of Hawaii.

The heavy and steady rain has caused widespread disruption. Rivers have overflowed and the flood waters have washed out many roads across the region. On Saturday, Brinnon in Washington state suffered widespread flooding and the surging flood waters also triggered a mudslide.

North of the border, the small BC towns of Kitimat and Terrace have found themselves buried in record-breaking snowfall. The mild, moist air from the Pineapple Express quickly cooled as it crossed the coast and promptly left a covering of two metres of snow on the ground.

Power outages

There were inevitably power outages and trees down which hindered the required clear-up operation. The previous record for a 24-hour snowfall, set on February 5, 1961, was 112cm.

Meanwhile, heavy snow is also causing problems on the other side of the continent as a winter-weary New England prepares for the possibility of a further 30cm or more of snow on top of their latest wintry blast.

The National Weather Service have posted winter storm warnings across northern New York State along with Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut as snow blows in from Lake Ontario throughout the weekend.

Light snow reached the Boston area early on Saturday and forecasters expect the long duration snowstorm to intensify during Sunday into Monday night. Some places could see as much as 45cm of fresh snow on the ground.

The city’s transit system has been hard hit and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority general manager, Beverly Scott says crews are doing everything they can to clear tracks and minimise the delays that have already angered commuters.

Source: Al Jazeera