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This NOAA satellite image taken Feb. 18, 2013 at 1:45 a.m. EST shows a low pressure system over the Canadian Maritimes with associated cold front stretching across the western Atlantic Ocean. Farther west, a low pressure system moves across the Northern Plains with snow. Fair weather across much of the eastern United States.

AP

Thousands of people on the East Coast lost power and school was cancelled in Nova Scotia and parts of New Brunswick after blasts of winter wind and wet snow swept through the region.

Nova Scotia Power reported about 12,000 outages by 8 a.m. local time.

In New Brunswick, NB Power issued a news release saying that at least 6,000 customers had lost power in the Fredericton, Rothesay and St. Stephen areas, with more people expected to report the loss of electricity as the morning went on.

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"The storm has certainly created significant damage including broken poles and large trees on lines," wrote Meghan Gerrish, a spokeswoman for NB Power.

A spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Power said repair crews were having difficulty reaching some areas in the southern half of the province due to the poor driving conditions.

"They're experiencing severe weather there (in the Annapolis Valley) which is causing travel delays for our crews and will impact restoration efforts throughout the day," said Lauren Brown, a spokeswoman for the utility.

Over 50 communities in Newfoundland's northern peninsula lost power as well when the storm hit Sunday evening, and the province's utility was still restoring power to those communities early today.

The Trans-Canada Highway in western Newfoundland was closed for several hours on Sunday evening, after a tractor-trailer jackknifed on the road in the Hampden Junction area and blocked traffic.

Schools closed in Nova Scotia and five of seven school boards in New Brunswick due to the weather.

Police forces around the region were warning of hazardous driving conditions as road-clearing teams started moving snow off roads and highways.

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In Prince Edward Island it's a public holiday, but police were cautioning travellers to be careful on the roads and the Confederation Bridge was restricting trucks and tractor-trailers from crossing.

Airports in Halifax and in St. John's were reporting cancellations and delays early in the morning for flights within the region.

Environment Canada said that strong winds caused blowing snow and near-zero visibility driving conditions.

In western Cape Breton, wind gusts approached 160 kilometres per hour.

Between 20 to 40 centimetres fell in New Brunswick, while eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia had varying amounts of snowfall mixed with rain.

Marine Atlantic cancelled both of its crossings between North Sydney, N.S., and Port Aux Basques, Nfld., on Sunday.

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