11/27/2014 04:36 EST | Updated 01/26/2015 05:59 EST

Winter Storm Leaves 40,000 Without Power In New Brunswick

The night sky in the Fredericton area took on an eerie blue-green glow overnight, apparently from power transformers on utility poles blowing and cutting off power to thousands of NB Power customers.

As of 5:15 a.m. Thursday, the first major storm of the winter in New Brunswick had resulted in about 40,000 of NB Power's customers losing power.

The hardest hit area was the Fredericton area, where more than 21,000 homes and businesses were without electrical service.

The electrical grid in the Fredericton area was battered in post-tropical storm Arthur in July when high winds and heavy rains uprooted large trees and plunged more than 140,000 NB Power customers into darkness at its peak. Virtually all homes and businesses in the Fredericton area lost power as a result of Arthur with thousands of trees toppled or damaged in the capital area.

The nor'easter that moved into New Brunswick Wednesday evening and raged through the night was forecast to dump more than 25 cm of snow and ice pellets on the southern half of New Brunswick, with the Moncton area in southeast New Brunswick possibly seeing as much as 60 cm.

While the Fredericton area accounted for more than half of the 40,000 outages reported at 5:15 a.m., there was a swath of outages across the southern half of the province.

Significant outages were reported in Bouctouche (4,840 customers), Moncton (2,774), Rothesay (1,516), Shediac (3,415), St. Stephen (2,061) and Sussex (3,698).

Schools closing across the province

The winter storm has caused schools in several districts across New Brunswick to announce closures.

All schools are closed in the following districts:

- Anglophone West 

- Anglophone North

- Anglophone South

- Anglophone East

- Francophone South

- Francophone North East

Municipalities are also facing early decisions today on what to do with their transit services.

Fredericton Transit says it is operating and will start service on time today.

However, buses in Fredericton will probably stay away from side streets that have not been plowed.

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