03/25/2014 05:33 EDT | Updated 03/26/2014 01:59 EDT

Halifax Storm Drawing Comparisons To 'White Juan' Blizzard (VIDEO, TWEETS)

Halifax is bracing for a powerful storm that is drawing comparisons to "White Juan," a weather event that brought the city to a standstill in 2004.

Environment Canada has issued blizzard and storm surge warnings in the Halifax Metro and Halifax county west areas for Wednesday.

Near-zero visibilities are expected as a low pressure system moves off the U.S. seaboard today and intensifies as it moves north to eastern Canada overnight.

Snow levels of 25 to 40 centimetres are expected in southwestern Nova Scotia, though some areas could see as much as 50 centimetres.

Forecasters predict that the snow will turn to rain late in the day along the Atlantic coast, over the eastern half of the mainland and over Cape Breton. Elsewhere, it's expected to dissipate on Wednesday night.

However, snow isn't the sole condition to fear with the storm. Winds blowing at up to 100 kilometres per hour are also expected late Wednesday afternoon, which are likely to create whiteout conditions in combination with the snow, Environment Canada said.

Parts of Cape Breton are also under a warning for Les Suetes winds that could reach up to 160 kilometres per hour, CBC News reported.

Waves of over 45 feet (13.7 metres) could also come with the storm, Mashable reported, and elevated water levels could cause flooding along Nova Scotia's Atlantic coast during high tide late Wednesday afternoon.

The system's wind patterns are "eerily similar" to White Juan, a storm that dumped up to 100 centimetres of snow on Halifax and brought the city to a complete stop for days in 2004, Weather Network chief meteorologist Chris Scott said Monday.

This storm won't drop as much snow as that event, but winds could be stronger, creating the potential for widespread power outages, he added.

The forecast is so strong that The Weather Channel has dispatched Mike Seidel, one of its top storm-chasing meteorologists, to Halifax to cover it.

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