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Major winter storm leaves much of Atlantic Canada without power, shuts schools

Strong winds overnight Wednesday snapped several poles in a row on Sherwood Road in Charlottetown.
Strong winds overnight Wednesday snapped several poles in a row on Sherwood Road in Charlottetown. - Jim Day

HALIFAX - Hundreds of thousands of people were without power in Atlantic Canada this morning after a winter storm packing wind, rain and snow barrelled through the region, also closing schools and disrupting travel.

Nova Scotia Power said at about 10 a.m. that 697 outages left almost 219,000 customers powerless, while NB Power was reporting 172 outages affecting more than 44,000 customers.

Nova Scotia Power said in a statement that transmission interruptions between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia shut down the transmission connection linking the two provinces, causing outages for about 100,000 customers.

Maritime Electric reported thousands of customers out in P.E.I., while Newfoundland Power also reported multiple outages.

The dynamic system prompted Environment Canada to issue weather warnings in P.E.I., New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

It says winds could gust to 110 kilometres an hour in mainland Newfoundland, where snowfall amounts were forecast to reach 25 centimetres in the central portion of the province.

Northern Nova Scotia was expected to get upwards of 20 cm of snow, with winds gusting up to 80 km/h before conditions were expected to improve Friday.

The agency says the northern coast of P.E.I. could see pounding waves and surf possibly causing flooding, while eastern New Brunswick could see up to 15 cm of snow and blustery winds up to 80 km/h.

Schools were closed or had delayed openings, and ferry service between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia was cancelled until the winds died down, while the Confederation Bridge between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia was restricting travel.

Flights were being cancelled or delayed in Halifax, Charlottetown and St. John's, N.L.

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