Pounding rain, high winds and the threat of heavy snow are causing power outages and school and ferry closures in parts of the East Coast as a so-called "weather bomb" rolls in.

Power outages are reported across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick due to high winds and heavy rains.

Environment Canada is forecasting gusts of 100 kilometres per hour or more in almost every county of Nova Scotia, P.E.I., northern New Brunswick and the west and north coasts of Newfoundland.

As well as the high westerly winds, northern New Brunswick is expected to see an estimated 20 centimetres of snow.

Coastal regions in eastern New Brunswick are also being warned of winds that could reach 100 km/h.

School Districts 5 and 15, which cover the English and French schools in northern New Brunswick, have cancelled classes.

The provincial government has cancelled its French Immersion public consultation session in Campbellton.

Snow is already falling in the northwestern New Brunswick town of Saint Leonard.

As well, the northern city of Bathurst has had about 16 centimetres of snow fall in the last 24 hours.

So far, southern New Brunswick is poised to miss the most severe elements of the storm, with rainfall warnings dropped by Environment Canada.

CBC meteorologist Kalin Mitchell said on Twitter that the system may be moving too quickly for heavy accumulation.

Mitchell said Saint John residents can expect rain to ease Thursday morning, but winds will be up to 80 km/h.

As for the coastal areas in southeastern New Brunswick, Mitchell said the high winds will pick up in the afternoon.

"Just crazy winds out there because those winds are coming out of the west and northwest direction, the temperature is going to be dropping as we head in towards this afternoon," he said

The storm is already being blamed for thousands of power outages across the province.

NB Power is reporting that 5,586 customers were without power as of 11:17 a.m

The northeastern New Brunswick town of Tracadie-Sheila has 1,701 customers without power and in northern New Brunswick, there are 1,313 customers without electricity in the Campbellton and Dalhousie area.

The other Maritime provinces are also experiencing the effects of what's being called a "weather bomb."

Environment Canada has extended its latest wind warnings to cover almost all of Nova Scotia.

Winds reaching 100 km/h are expected in every county, except Digby, Annapolis and Kings.

The high winds have closed the MacKay Bridge in Halifax to high-sided vehicles
Mitchell said the highest winds are expected in the afternoon

Nova Scotia Power is also reporting that more than 10,000 homes and businesses were without power as of 11:00 a.m. The outages stretched from Shelburne to Sydney.

In Prince Edward Island, the wind warnings have been increased to 110 km/h.

Marine Atlantic has cancelled all ferry crossings from western Newfoundland to Cape Breton due to high winds in the gulf.

Customers are being advised that they should contact the company for updates
The ferry is tentatively scheduled to resume crossings on Friday at 11:30 a.m., according to the company.