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Fierce storm moves in

Schools and municipal offices are closed and flights were being cancelled today in parts of Atlantic Canada as a powerful spring blizzard headed toward the region, threatening to bring strong winds and heavy snowfall.

Significant snow is forecasted 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 predicted 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.

Schools were closed in parts of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, and airports in Fredericton and Halifax were showing several cancellations.

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."

The Canadian Press

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