Thousands of people in New Brunswick are being forced to celebrate Christmas in the dark after a weekend ice storm, while parts of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia brace for more wintry weather this week.

NB Power says more than 30,000 customers are still without power, but crews are working through Christmas Day and into next weekend to repair downed power lines.

More than 14,000 of the outages are in the Saint John area, but people in Sussex, St. Stephen, Moncton and Fredericton are also shivering in the dark.

The Crown-owned utility has said customers will have to wait until Saturday before power is restored.

"It's really a battle out there," spokesperson Deborah Nobes said Tuesday. "This is a really extreme, severe weather event that is causing a lot of damage to our systems.

"Our crews are going at it with everything they've got, but it's very complicated and challenging to resolve."

At one point Monday, more than 50,000 residents in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were without power.

In Nova Scotia, the number of outages had been cut to less than 1,000 by late Tuesday, and all power had been restored by Christmas Day.

Snow headed for N.L., N.S.

Meanwhile, snowfall warnings have ended for eastern Newfoundland, but Environment Canada is warning of another wintry system headed to the area later this week.

Meteorologist Ryan Rozinskis says 18 centimetres of snow fell at the St. John's International Airport overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday — Christmas Day.

Rozinskis says a low pressure system is expected to develop south of Cape Cod Thursday afternoon and intensify as it moves up the coast and passes near the Avalon Peninsula Friday evening.

He says the system could bring significant snowfall, strong winds and blowing snow.

The national weather forecaster says the same system could bring up to 15 centimetres of snow to parts of Nova Scotia overnight Thursday before it heads to Newfoundland.

With files from CBC News