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School closures, power outages as winter storm bashes Eastern Canada Add to ...

Powerful late-fall storms are hitting parts of the Maritimes and Ontario with everything from high wind gusts and pouring rain to heavy snowfall.

High winds, rain and snow in the Maritimes left thousands without power Monday and turned morning travel into a tedious trek in some places.

Police and transportation officials in Nova Scotia warned motorists to drive with caution, with partially flooded roads and downed power poles and lines in the Halifax area and elsewhere.

Several roads were closed near Halifax.

High wind and storm surge warnings were in effect for coastal Nova Scotia.

"With the extra rain and wind there's the potential for debris on the roadways, anything from garbage to, if you're along the coast, boulders - with the power of the ocean," said Cpl. Scott MacRae, a spokesman for the Halifax District RCMP.

Cpl. MacRae said there were no early reports of any major accidents, but "with the periods of heavy rain and strong winds there's always the potential for hydroplaning."

Ferry service between Caribou, N.S., and Wood Islands, P.E.I., was cancelled for the day and ferry schedules between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland were disrupted.

The winds also resulted in crossing restrictions for trucks, buses and motorcycles on the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island.

Nova Scotia Power reported more than 30,000 customers without electricity in areas across the province, while in New Brunswick there were about 2,500 without power.

Many schools in the Fredericton area were also closed for the day with up to 25 centimetres of snow expected.

There were event cancellations in the region, including a service in Halifax to commemorate the devastating Halifax Explosion of 1917.

Wind warnings were also issued for the west coast of Newfoundland, with gusts expected in the range of 100 to 140 kilometres an hour.

In Ontario, schools in Goderich and the Thames Valley District, as well as those covered by the London District Catholic School Board, are closed because of snow.

London, Middlesex, Oxford and Simcoe Counties have cancelled buses.

Environment Canada has issue a special weather statement forecasting up to 60 centimetres of snow will have fallen by Tuesday in an area encompassing Strathroy, London, St. Thomas and up to Grand Bend and Owen Sound.

Barrie south to the northern reaches of Toronto will get some snow - but a bigger problem for commuters will be high winds and whiteouts.

Some areas of northeastern Ontario will get upwards of 25 centimetres of snow.

To check for information on weather alerts in your area, visit Environment Canada's website.

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