A fierce winter storm that has dumped snow as far south as Florida is expected to hit Atlantic Canada Thursday.

“I think the winds are going to be the story here,” David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, told CTV News on Wednesday. “Winds of 100 everywhere — and maybe even up to140 km/h.”

As the storm — which has been dubbed both a “snow hurricane” and a “bomb cyclone” — travels up the U.S. east coast into Canada Thursday, the Atlantic provinces could receive as much as 40 cm of snow as well as both rain and freezing rain. High waves and storm surge could also put coastal communities at risk. The storm is expected to linger in the region into Friday.

Wind gusts of up to 140 km/h are also expected to cause significant damage, including to the Atlantic province’s electrical grids.

Nova Scotia, for example, is expecting to be even harder-hit than last week, when howling Christmas Day winds brought down power lines across the province, leaving more than 150,000 Nova Scotia Power customers in the dark.

“Nova Scotia Power is ramping up the biggest pre-storm mobilization of personnel and resources in the company’s history in advance of a severe winter storm that is forecast to bring hurricane force winds to Nova Scotia tomorrow,” the company said in a statement posted to its website Wednesday. Nova Scotia Power is also warning that power outages could last through the weekend, and even into early next week.

In a statement posted online, NB Power also said that it has secured additional work crews in advance of the storm.

“New Brunswickers are reminded to have everything they need for at least 72 hours following a storm,” the statement continued. “An emergency kit should include food, water, batteries, battery-powered radio, first-aid supplies and any special items such as prescriptions, infant formula and equipment for people with disabilities.”

As of Wednesday night, Environment Canada had issued weather warnings for nearly all of Atlantic Canada and southern Quebec for a variety of conditions, including a winter storm, storm surge, wind and rainfall.

“Winter storm warnings are issued when multiple types of severe winter weather are expected to occur together,” Environment Canada said on its website.

With a report from CTV’s Atlantic Bureau Chief Todd Battis

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