A band of freezing rain, rain, ice pellets and snow, stretching from Ontario to Newfoundland is on track to hit the Maritimes Saturday into Sunday.

A trough of low pressure moving northeast from the U.S. and Ontario will move over the region Saturday. The same weather system is expected to lie over Prince Edward Island by this afternoon, drifting towards southwestern Nova Scotia by Sunday morning.

The weather system could bring as much as 40 millimetres of freezing rain to most of Nova Scotia — stretching from Lunenburg County to the Canso Causeway — while the south shore of the province is soaked by as much as 30 to 40 millimetres of rain.

The national weather forecaster said extended periods of freezing rain were expected to begin Saturday evening and persist until late Sunday in New Brunswick and P.E.I. 

Meteorologist Andy Firth said the freezing rain would change to snow overnight Saturday in central New Brunswick and P.E.I., with up to 25 centimetres expected.

 "Extended periods of freezing rain of longer than 12 hours is not something we commonly have," said Firth in Halifax on Saturday. 

"It's a pretty significant amount of freezing rain."

On the weekend before Christmas — one of the busiest travel weekends of the year — the weather may make getting around dangerous or even impossible.

Dozens of flights at airports throughout the region, including the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, were delayed or cancelled Saturday afternoon.

CBC meteorologist Kalin Mitchell said all travellers should check the road conditions and airline schedules to make sure their travel plans won’t be disrupted. The storm has the possibility of knocking out power, cancelling more flights and making roads treacherous.

"Icy roads, airport cancellations and widespread power outages are all risks with that much freezing rain. Power outages would be a result of the weight put on lines and tree branches by ice," he said. 

Mitchell also cautions in areas such as southwest Nova Scotia expecting heavy rain, it's a good idea to make sure drainage systems are not blocked with snow and ice. 

With files from The Canadian Press