Crews in Cape Breton are making progress restoring power to thousands of homes and businesses in the Sydney area that went without electricity overnight.

Nova Scotia Power restored power to more than 3,000 customers Wednesday morning, cutting in half the number without electricity.

The region was hit by snow and wind gusts Wednesday morning, but conditions are improving. There's been a slew of cancellations and several warming stations have been set up for those without power.

In Sydney, Judy Gillis tried to open her sewing store, but the snow was so deep she gave up and went home.

"The snow is so high that people can't even get to me," Gillis said. "Until it clears the sidewalks a little bit, not a whole lot to do on a day like today."

Sydney sidewalks

Some sidewalks in Sydney were under two feet of snow after a storm battered Cape Breton overnight. (Joan Weeks/CBC)

The Cape Breton District Health Authority is only performing emergency services Wednesday morning. Patients with appointments are urged to call ahead.

Plows were having trouble clearing roads and the province's Department of Transportation had urged motorists to stay home.

Marine Atlantic ferries between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland resumed service Wednesday morning after crossings were halted Monday.

There was a backlog of 200 trucks in North Sydney and another 150 waiting in Port aux Basques, N.L.

"Right now we're looking to move as much traffic as we can over the next 24 to 48 hours," said Darrell Mercer, spokesman for Marine Atlantic.

Tim's in Sydney

The Tim Hortons on George Street was closed early Wednesday morning. (David Burke/CBC)

"We figure that if weather and ice conditions cooperate we should be caught back up by end of day tomorrow."

There have been a series of cancellations across the region. The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board has cancelled school and the campus at Cape Breton University is closed for the morning.

Provincial government offices are also closed for the morning. A decision will be made later about the afternoon. Federal government offices in Sydney, Glace Bay and North Sydney are also closed for the morning, with a decision about this afternoon to come later. 

The warming station set up in Albert Bridge reports 20 people coming in overnight.