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Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm

The Canadian Press logoThe Canadian Press 2019-01-20

SAINT JOHN, N.B. - Many Canadian figure skaters are stranded in Saint John, N.B., amid a winter storm on the last day of the national skating championships.

More than half of the flights out of the city's airport were cancelled due to the weather.

Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for Saint John and the surrounding area.

The Canadian championships brought some 250 skaters to Saint John. Terry Sheahan, the senior director of marketing and events for Skate Canada, estimates that between 400 and 500 people — skaters, coaches, officials, and various staff members — travelled to the event.

A pedestrian braves the elements at the start of a major winter storm in Saint John, N.B. on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the maritime provinces with snow, rain and freeing rain expected. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan © Provided by thecanadianpress.com A pedestrian braves the elements at the start of a major winter storm in Saint John, N.B. on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the maritime provinces with snow, rain and freeing rain expected. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

"We've got limited flights for people to change to, and it's still an unknown as to how many flights are going to get out and when," Sheahan said. "Even some of the flights that people were changed to, they may or may not (leave as scheduled)."

The snowstorm mainly affected people with flights booked for Sunday, with many flights rescheduled for as late as Tuesday. Air Canada said affected customers can re-book without penalty as a result.

"We do our best to handle this," Sheahan said. "It's been a fabulous week. It's a minor irritant at the end of it. It won't tarnish the event, it's gone over exceptionally well. I guess this is Atlantic Canada."

The federal weather agency says heavy snow was set to turn into ice pellets and freezing rain later Sunday.

The skating championships opened Monday and ran through Sunday's exhibition gala.

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