ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - A winter storm hit parts of eastern Newfoundland today, closing government offices and forcing buses off the roads in the St. John's area.

The storm also shut down schools and businesses in the city.

Buses were also pulled off the roads for a few hours, and government services in St. John's and neighbouring Mount Pearl were expected to resume later in the day.

Environment Canada meteorologist Paul Greeley says about 18 centimetres of snow had fallen in the St. John's area by early morning, while the Burin and Bonavista Peninsulas were hit with up to 20 centimetres of snow.

Greeley says wind gusts of up to 80 kilometres an hour were whipping the snow around, causing zero visibility in some areas.

He says the weather system was moving rapidly.