Police in southwestern Newfoundland urged drivers to stay off some regional highways Monday as a nasty spring storm swept into the island. 

Schools in numerous communities, from Port aux Basques to the Burin Peninsula to Conception Bay North, shut down as authorities dealt with a storm that is expected to dump as much as 40 cm of snow over a two-day period. 

Meteorologists said the messy system is moving gradually, and is also involving ice pellets and freezing rain.

The weather office put all of southern Newfoundland, including the Burin and Avalon peninsulas, under a winter storm warning.  

Weather map March 31 2014

A satellite map shows a large storm moving into Newfoundland on Monday morning. (Environment Canada)

With the forecast showing significantly less snowfall for northern areas of Newfoundland, the brunt of the storm is focused on the south coast.

RCMP urged drivers to stay off sections of the highway, particularly from Port aux Basques to the Codroy Valley. 

"The [Department of Transportation has] actually had to remove the snowclearing equimpent off the roads because it's just too stormy and unsafe to operate," said RCMP Const. Sam Munden. 

The highway to Burgeo was closed. 

As well, the road connecting the Port au Port Peninsula community of Mainland with Bay St. George was also closed. 

Marine Atlantic idled its ferries from crossing between North Sydney and Port aux Basques, coming on the heels of several disruptions caused by last week's storms. 

"It appears seatbelt-fastening is in order for the southern half of Newfoundland," said CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon.