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Winter wallops Maritime provinces as weather warnings remain in effect

WATCH ABOVE: Biting wind, snow and frigid arctic air are battering parts of eastern Canada. Mike le Couteur reports.

HALIFAX – A savage winter storm pounded Maritimes on Sunday, causing damage, delays and dangerous driving conditions on Sunday while people in parts of southern Ontario and Quebec were braving biting winds and frigid Arctic temperatures.

The Maritimes were hard hit by a weather system. In Halifax snow changed to rain causing some flooding problems, and Environment Canada issued a flash freeze warning Sunday afternoon.

READ MORE: Storm causes closures and cancellations in much of New Brunswick

Motorists were asked to avoid the flooded streets. The statement also asked residents to help clear storm drains of snow and ice to alleviate clogging.

Bus and ferry services in the city were suspended until Monday. At Halifax Stanfield International Airport, the majority of flights for Sunday afternoon were cancelled or delayed.

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Snow build-up caused the roof of a curling club to partially collapse in the city’s south end Sunday, according to Halifax Regional Police.

Police said the Halifax Curling Club appears to have been vacant at the time and no injuries were reported.

An intense low pressure system was expected to cross Nova Scotia later Sunday before moving into the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Monday, Environment Canada said.

In New Brunswick, RCMP advised drivers to stay off the roads Sunday afternoon if possible. The provincial government said several highways in the province were impassable.

A blizzard warning was in effect for much of New Brunswick on Sunday. Environment Canada said parts of the province could expect up to 40 cm of snow by the end of the weekend.

READ MORE: Atlantic Canada to get another blast of snow; Calgary basking in warmth

The national weather forecaster also issued storm surge warnings for P.E.I. It said coastal areas of the island could see flooding as sea ice moves onshore.

The Confederation Bridge that links P.E.I to New Brunswick issued traffic restrictions Sunday morning due to high winds. A travel advisory prohibited certain vehicles, including buses and tractor trailers, from crossing the bridge until further notice.

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An extreme cold warning was in effect for a large swath of Ontario and Quebec causing icy winds and numbing temperatures.

Several Ontario cities experienced record lows, including Windsor, Waterloo and Hamilton. Windchills in the Toronto area reached the low -40s.

Environment Canada meteorologist Mitch Meredith cautioned anyone venturing outdoors.

“At these temperatures when it’s getting windy, the skin can freeze in just a couple of minutes when exposed,” he said.

In Quebec, the Gatineau Loppet, the biggest cross-country skiing event in Canada, decided to shorten its races for security reasons after temperatures dropped to -36 with windchill.

Environment Canada was predicting windchill values between -35 to -44 in some areas and warned people venturing outdoors to exercise extreme caution. The winds were expected to ease by Sunday night but temperatures were expected to remain in the -30s in many areas into Monday morning.