03/13/2014 05:18 EDT | Updated 05/13/2014 05:59 EDT

Winter Storm Closes All N.B. Schools

All public schools in New Brunswick are closed Thursday as a winter storm batters the province.

As much as 40 centimetres of snow and blowing snow are possible in the central and northern parts of the province, with the more southerly areas to see ice pellets and freezing rain thrown into the storm mix.

Road conditions in the province are poor, while weather warnings extend through the Maritimes to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Those responsible for maintaining the Trans-Canada Highway through the province were urging people to stay off the highway or limit travel if at all possible.

"If you have to go on it, drive with caution," said Ross Mathers, of Maritime Road Development Corporation, which operates the highway from Moncton to just west of Fredericton.

" If you don't have to, do it like the airports and close it down," he said. "Use your phone and phone ahead and say, `I'm sorry, I can't make it today.'"

Mathers said the entire length of the highway his company maintains has snow- and ice-covered conditions.

"We've had a very heavy night with freezing rain," he said. "We've had over 20 centimetres of snow in Oromocto."

The highway from Longs Creek, west of Fredericton, to the Quebec border is maintained by Brun-way. Spokesperson Felicia Murray says that highway system saw heavy snow, followed by ice pellets, which then turned back into snow.

"This type of storm results in snow-covered, icy roads, which is what you would experience if you are on the highway today," said Murray.

Windy conditions are causing drifting and poor visibility, she said.

"If at all possible, limit your travels to a minimum. It's pretty messy out there."

NB Power outages were reported in Fredericton and St. Stephen, with more than 1,400 customers without service early Thursday morning. Most of those affected were in the Fredericton area.

It is expected to be Thursday afternoon before the storm system has passed through the province onto Newfoundland.

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