A major snow storm hammered Atlantic Canada with heavy snow and high winds Wednesday, cancelling flights, closing schools and government offices, and making driving treacherous for motorists across the region.

The storm began with a light snowfall that dusted much of Nova Scotia overnight Tuesday, bringing between three and five centimetres of snow.

A stronger blast of snow followed, dumping 15 to 25 centimetres in southeastern New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island late Wednesday.

Environment Canada officials said gusts in parts of Nova Scotia reached over 82 kilometres per hour during the evening.

"It turned out to be fairly severe," meteorologist Doug Mercer told The Canadian Press. "We're getting visibility that is fairly low."

The storm delayed or cancelled flights at airports in Halifax, Fredericton, Moncton, N.B., and Charlottetown.

“The snow is relatively light because the temperature is double digits below zero, which is a good thing in the sense that the snow is relatively dry and easy to move around,” airport spokesperson Peter Spurway told CTV Wednesday morning.

“The downside is it does blow around fairly easily.”

Marine Atlantic cancelled ferry service between Port aux Basques, Nfld., and Sydney, N.S., as high winds created rough water.

Both Dalhousie University and St. Mary’s University closed for the day, as did all Access Nova Scotia, motor registry and land registration offices.

In addition to the snow and high winds, temperatures plummeted across the region. With the wind chill, the temperature felt like -19 C in Halifax, while in Fredericton it felt like -26 C.