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It's been an unforgiving winter across Atlantic Canada, and this next incoming storm could actually be the strongest of the year. Residents urged to plan for near complete travel shut down Wednesday.

Atlantic Canada storm: Environment Canada calling for zero visibility, wind gusts up to 180 km/h

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Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 7:57 PM -

TUNE IN FOR LIVE COVERAGE: Chris St. Clair will on location in PEI, Chief Meteorologist Chris Scott and Meteorologist Mark Robinson will be monitoring the storm from Cape Breton and Nathan Coleman will be on location in Halifax.

It's been an unforgiving winter across Atlantic Canada, and this next incoming storm could actually be the strongest of the year.

"Plan for near complete travel shutdown Wednesday across the Maritimes," tweeted The Weather Network's chief meteorologist Chris Scott on Monday. "We can take a good punch, but this is a haymaker."

Environment Canada has issued a slew of active weather warnings, with all signs pointing to the fact that this will be a potent winter storm.

As of 4:00 p.m. ADT on Tuesday, highlights include:

• A wind warning for Wreckhouse, NL, with gusts up to 180 km/h.

• A wind warning for Les Suetes/Inverness County, NS with gusts up to 160 km/h.

• Storm Surge Warnings in effect for the Moncton/Kent County/Kouchibouguac area.

The storm is forecast to impact Atlantic Canada starting Tuesday night with heavy amounts of snow, hurricane force winds and pounding surf/storm surge.

"Wind-related impacts will be the greatest effect of this Nor’easter," warns Weather Network meteorologist Monica Vaswani. "Models consistently indicating rapid cyclogensis (deepening of the low) leading to dangerous winds combined with heavy snowfall. Blizzard conditions likely for portions of Atlantic Canada Wednesday through Friday morning."

This storm has drawn eerie comparisons to White Juan, which shut down most of the east coast 10 years ago. 

"We don't expect 70-100 cm totals like White Juan since snow won't last as long, but wind impact does look worse," says Scott.

Widespread warnings have been issued across the Atlantic provinces including blizzard, wind and storm surge warnings.

The snow is forecast to begin overnight in southwestern Nova Scotia and will continue to spread across the Maritime provinces Wednesday.

ATLANTIC CANADA NOR'EASTER: Eight weather terms you'll be hearing this week

Between 25-40 cm of snow is expected in the hardest hit areas with locally heavier amounts possible.

"Areas of southwestern Nova Scotia may see upwards of 40 to 50 cm of snow before the system pulls away," warns Environment Canada in the statement Tuesday morning.

Strong winds gusting over 100 km/h are expected to develop ahead of the strom Wednesday and could cause widespread whiteout conditions in blowing snow.

Motorists are being urged to plan ahead and avoid any unnecessary travel.

Additionally, higher than normal water levels combined with rapidly rising wave activity may produce localized flooding.

The Nor'easter is expected to move into Newfoundland midday Wednesday, continuing to impact the province through Friday morning.

Up to 30 cm of snow is forecast across central and western parts of the region with a rain changeover possible for the Avalon.

That's after 20 cm of snow piled up in parts the province, prompting school closures on Monday morning.

Wind gusts up to 140 km/h are expected Wednesday night with gusts over 100 km/h possible through the day on Thursday.

"Widespread power outages are possible as the wind field with this system is extensive," says Vaswani. "This is likely the most powerful storm of the winter/spring 2013-2014 season and if this were summer, we would likely be identifying this system as a Tropical Storm."

LIVE STREAMING: Check back for LIVE stream coverage of this storm on Wednesday

Intense and dangerous Nor'easter to impact Atlantic Canada midweek
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Atlantic Canada Nor'easter: Eight weather terms you'll be hearing
Atlantic Canada storm draws comparisons to infamous White Juan

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