11/01/2014 03:29 EDT | Updated 01/01/2015 05:59 EST

Heavy rain and snow expected in Maritimes this weekend

Maritimers are in for some nasty weather this weekend, with New Brunswick expected to be hit the hardest by a “large, potent weather system,” says an Environment Canada forecaster.

In that province, as much as 20 centimetres of snow is expected to fall Saturday evening and throughout the day Sunday.

“It’s not impossible to think of road closures, given we’re this early in the season. People are not necessarily prepared. The plows have not been out. This is really the first [snowfall] of the season,” said Jean-Marc Couturier, a forecaster with Environment Canada.

The low-pressure weather system is currently south of New England over the Gulf Stream and is tracking northeast.

Rainfall today will change into snow over the central and northern sections of New Brunswick, covering areas such as Fredericton and north up to Grand Falls and Bathurst.

This will be coupled with strong winds, particularly over the Acadian peninsula.

“The snow will start accumulating tonight. By tomorrow morning, a lot of areas will wake up with a fair size fresh coating of snow,” said Couturier.

While water levels should not be a problem tonight, higher than normal water levels on Sunday are expected, along with significant waves. This is particularly true for areas on the Acadian Coast, such as Shediac, Bouctouche and the Kouchibouguac National Park.

Couturier is not anticipating any coastal flooding.

Given that temperatures will be hovering around the freezing point, Couturier says the snow will likely be sticky and could accumulate on tree branches. Coupled with the high winds, this could become problematic.

NB Power says it is ready for any bad weather

NB Power spokesperson Meghan Gerrish says crews have been out fuelling trucks and stocking them with equipment in preparation for the bad weather.

She says NB Power has also reached out to other power utilities for additional manpower in case it’s needed.

“We’ve been in close contact with friends in the neighbouring utilities in the event of mass power outages,” said Gerrish.

The weather conditions are already having an impact on transportation. The provincial transportation department says the Belleisle Bay Ferry will stay at the dock until the weather improves.

P.E.I. mostly getting rain and some flurries

P.E.I. is expecting similar weather conditions to New Brunswick, although it shouldn’t get as much snow.

Couturier says the Island should get about 40 millimetres of rain between today and tomorrow, with winds gusting up to 70 kilometres per hour. By Monday morning, this should turn to some flurries.

Rain expected for Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, mostly rain is expected. Couturier says the province should receive between 30 and 40 millimetres of rain Saturday and Sunday, as well as brisk northeast winds.

Given the heavy rain which fell one week ago in southern Nova Scotia, this could lead to some localized flooding, says Couturier.

In a tweet Friday, Nova Scotia’s natural resources department warned about the possibility of a storm surge on the Northumberland Shore.

“Stay back from surf, away from slippery shores,” it cautioned.