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Workers clear sidewalks of snow in Moncton on Nov. 27, 2014.

ANDREW VAUGHAN/The Canadian Press

Thousands of homes and businesses across New Brunswick were without power Thursday after an early and nasty blast of winter buried parts of the province under more than 30 centimetres of snow.

The heavy, wet snow loaded down trees and power lines and covered roads, while high winds caused blowing snow and reduced visibility.

RCMP Corporal Chantal Farrah said that since Wednesday evening when the snow started, the department received reports of about 30 vehicles that had left the road or had been involved in minor accidents. One man was injured and taken to hospital Thursday as the result of a crash near Campbellton.

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Schools were closed across much of the province and in Fredericton, government offices remained shut until noon.

Warren Maddox was out with a chainsaw Thursday morning to cut up a tree that had fallen across his driveway in Fredericton. At that point his home had been without power for about 12 hours.

"It would be nice to get through one major storm without a power outage," Maddox said.

"It does seem like every storm we get, there are 10, 15 or 20,000 people without power and that's a concern, especially in winter."

NB Power spokeswoman Marie-Andree Bolduc said almost 48,000 customers were without electricity at one point, with Fredericton, Moncton, Sussex and Bouctouche listed as the worst hit areas.

"I think in the last year, NB Power has seen outages that were longer just because of the extreme weather," Bolduc said, pointing to post-tropical storm Arthur in the summer and severe weather last December. "We're not necessarily getting more storms but they are more violent, I would say."

The City of Fredericton opened two warming and charging centres for those without power.

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Flights heading to Halifax from Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton were cancelled because of the weather.

In PEI, Environment Canada said the storm was expected to hit Prince County with up to 10 centimetres of snow and ice pellets before moving on.

Parts of Newfoundland were also getting hammered with heavy snow, with forecasters calling for 15 to 25 centimetres by the end of the day Thursday.

In Fredericton, Nicola Johnson was trying to take the storm in stride as she shovelled her driveway.

"It's an early wake-up call that winter is coming, but I wasn't expecting it this soon," she said.

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