HALIFAX - Scores of weather warnings have been issued for Atlantic Canada as a powerful spring blizzard is poised to bear down on the region today.
Heavy snow is in the forecast for all four provinces, but Nova Scotia and P.E.I. are expected to see the biggest accumulation with up to 40 to 50 centimetres of snow forecast for the two provinces.
While New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador are expected to get less snow, the entire region has been warned about potentially damaging winds in excess of 100 kilometres per hour that could cause widespread whiteout conditions.
In western Newfoundland, where strong winds are common, Environment Canada says gusts could peak at 160 km/h and even higher in the notorious Wreckhouse area.
In Nova Scotia, some government services and offices have been closed as a precautionary measure.
Environment Canada forecaster Tracey Talbot says residents along Nova Scotia's coastline should stay away from the water and prepare for potentially damaging storm surges.
"With the storm surge we're expecting, we could see some flooding and some local infrastructure damage," Talbot said Tuesday.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen MacNeil is encouraging residents to help each other.
"Look after your neighbours," he said late Tuesday. "If there are people in your community ... that are living alone or are elderly or needing some support, make sure you keep in touch with them to ensure that everyone weathers the storm."
Lena Diab, the minister responsible for Nova Scotia's Emergency Management Office, said residents should have an emergency kit with a flashlight, crank radio, water, first-aid kit and food that will not spoil.
"With heavy snowfall and very high winds a possibility, it's important to prepare emergency kits that include enough supplies for 72 hours."
Prince Edward Island's Office of Public Safety is advising Islanders to prepare for the possibility of power disruptions.
"Snow and ice buildup on tree branches, rooftops and utility lines can lead to dangerous conditions with breaking branches, downed utility lines and possibly power outages," the office said in a news release.