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Winter storm blasting Eastern Canada with snow, rain and high winds

Shubenacadie Sam heads from his den at the wildlife park in Shubenacadie, N.S. on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011.

ANDREW VAUGHAN/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A low-pressure system sweeping across Eastern Canada is bringing an assortment of messy weather to the region including heavy snowfall, freezing rain and high winds.

Environment Canada said about 10 centimetres of snow had fallen in Halifax and along Nova Scotia's South Shore on Sunday afternoon before it changed to rain and freezing rain.

Meteorologist Jean-Marc Couturier said about 25 millimetres of rain would fall overnight Sunday.

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"It looks like this evening that freezing rain could be persistent for a number of hours," said Mr. Couturier from Halifax on Sunday.

It was a similar story on Prince Edward Island, where about five to 15 centimetres of snow was expected over eastern parts of the province before changing to rain and freezing rain.

Couturier said a cold front that would move in on Monday would make for some slick driving conditions.

"The temperature will drop gradually through the day tomorrow so that could make for some fairly icy conditions," said Mr. Couturier.

Several arrivals and departures at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport were delayed or cancelled Sunday.

Police in the Halifax area were urging drivers to slow down after 16 reported collisions.

Wind warnings blanketed P.E.I., where winds were expected to gust to 90 km/h on Monday.

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Strait Crossing Bridge Ltd. warned that winds could to gust to 100 km/h on the Confederation Bridge — which connects New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island — on Monday morning and could result in restrictions.

The blustery conditions were expected to produce pounding surf on the north coast of P.E.I. and Cape Breton's west coast.

Environment Canada said a low-pressure system was developing southwest of Nova Scotia on Sunday and was rapidly intensifying as it moved northward towards the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Meteorologist Marshall Hawkins said rainfall, snowfall and wind warnings were issued for Newfoundland and Labrador on Sunday.

The entire island was under a wind warning, with gusts between 100 and 120 km/h expected on Monday.

Western and northern Newfoundland were bracing for 15 to 25 centimetres of snow. On the province's southwest coast, that snow would change to rain.

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Blizzard, winter storm and wind warnings were issued for Labrador, where up to 30 centimetres of snow was expected in some regions.

Hawkins warned that high winds and high tide along the southwest coast of Newfoundland were expected to produce higher than normal water levels on Monday afternoon and evening.

"The combination of those factors could result in some coastline erosion, minor infrastructure damage or flooding," said Mr. Hawkins from Gander.

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