Poor visibility and whiteout conditions caused by blowing snow were being reported Monday night as a winter blizzard bore down on Nova Scotia. 

Few motor vehicle accidents were reported on provincial highways and Halifax streets, however, as motorists chose to stay home unless absolutely necessary.

Environment Canada issued a blizzard warning for most of the province with up to 30 centimetres of snow expected, continuing into Tuesday.

Many events were cancelled Monday, with government offices, universities and businesses shutting down early as well.

Cancellations are also being reported for Tuesday. Halifax Regional Municipality has announced its municipal offices, customer services and recreational centres will remain closed until at least noon. Garbage pickup for Tuesday has been postponed in both Halifax and Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Storm surges to hit Atlantic Coast

Tracey Talbot, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, says storm surges ranging from 60 to 75 centimetres are expected along the coastline from Yarmouth to Cape Breton, but because the tide will be out, they won't have much effect. 

Yarmouth is the exception, because the tide will be coming in there during early stages of the storm, said Talbot. 

"That is one area where you might see some localized flooding right along the coastline," she said. 

"But it's not supposed to be a significant event with this storm. It's mainly going to be a snowfall wind event, with lots of whiteout conditions."

She said visibility will be poor, with blowing snow and wind gusts of 60 to 80 km/h along the coast. 

PEI storm, Dec. 15, 2015

Environment Canada is advising that blowing snow will create poor visibility. (CBC)

Between 20 and 30 centimetres of snow are expected, and CBC meteorologist Peter Coade said the worst of the weather will happen overnight, with snow tapering off Tuesday morning. 

Winds will gust from the north and northeast from 50 km/h to 90 km/h across the mainland. Cape Breton could see wind gusts up to 100 km/h. 

There is also a blowing snow advisory in effect for Prince Edward Island and eastern New Brunswick. 

And it won't be over by Tuesday morning: another weaker low pressure weather system will bring between five and 10 centimetres of snow to the province Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.

In Halifax, the municipality will enforce its overnight parking ban from 1 a.m. until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Municipal crews in Cape Breton were fuelling up plows and salt trucks Monday morning in preparation for a long night of work.

CBRM public works

Kyle Drysdale prepares to clean up from the storm. Municipal workers in Cape Breton say this winter, so far, has been easier than last year since there has been about a week between storms. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

"We're about a week at least between storms, which gives us enough opportunity to undertake repairs that are necessary," said Ray Boudreau, manager of public works with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. "Last year we were getting storms on average twice a week, so it was a lot more difficult," 

Electrical crews on standby

Nova Scotia Power says crews are stationed across the province in preparation for any damage to equipment.

After a storm at the end of January, thousands of home and businesses lost electricity, some for up more than 48 hours.

The utility says with cooler temperatures expected during this snowfall, the snow won't be as heavy, but it warns that the high winds could still down trees and branches.

The power was out for hundreds of homes and businesses in the Bridgewater area for several hours Monday morning. Nova Scotia Power said the outage was caused by emergency repair work on the lines. 

Cancelled flights

Before snow even started falling, airlines cancelled dozens of flights. Both arrivals and departures at Halifax Stanfield International Airport are affected. Some airlines are waiving change fees for passengers who may be affected by the storm. 

The airport is advising travellers to check arrivals and departures before leaving for the airport. 

Bay Ferries has cancelled crossings from Saint John and Digby due to the weather.

Marine Atlantic postponed the 11:45 a.m. departures from North Sydney and Port aux Basques, N.L., until Tuesday. 

Monday's evening crossings from Port aux Basques are also rescheduled for 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. The company is advising travellers that further cancellations are possible.