01/07/2014 07:44 EST | Updated 03/09/2014 05:59 EDT

GN offices closed in Iqaluit, Cape Dorset, Coral Harbour

Winds are picking up in Iqaluit as the city braces for what  could be the worst blizzard since 2007. 

Winds began to pick up early up this morning but Environment Canada says the worst will hit the city sometime this afternoon with "violent easterly winds" and near-zero visibility due to blowing snow.

Blizzard conditions already hit Kimmirut and Cape Dorset this morning.

Schools and government offices in Nunavut's capital were closed today. 

Schools are also closed in Rankin Inlet, Cape Dorset, Arviat, Coral Harbour and Baker Lake. The Government of Nunavut offices in Arviat, Coral Harbour and Baker Lake are also closed. 

Qulliq Energy Corporation says it's prepared for the blizzard. The company says it has increased efforts to improve reliability since Iqaluit's last major storm. 

Line crews were out looking for anything unusual that may contribute to an outage. QEC says all equipment in the Iqaluit plant is running smoothly and should be stable. 

City dispatch has suspended all operations for the afternoon, meaning business throughout the city has largely shut down. 

The City of Iqaluit is advising residents to conserve water and stay off the roads, unless absolutely necessary.

A city spokeperson says additional fire and ambulance crews will be at the fire hall, but emergency services may be delayed because of the weather.

Qikiqtani General Hospital is also closed, except for emergencies.

Other closures today in Iqaluit include:

- Government of Nunavut

- Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. 

- Qikiqtani Inuit Association

- First Steps Daycare

- Inuksuk Infant Development Centre

- Tumikuluit Saipaaqivik Daycare


- Qikiqtani General Hospital

And in Cape Dorset:

- Both schools

- Arctic College

- Government of Nunavut

Schools are also closed today in Rankin Inlet, Arviat, Baker Lake and Coral Harbour.