TORONTO -- A major weather system is making its way to Eastern Canada with freezing rain, strong winds, and heavy snowfall expected in Ontario, Quebec and parts of the Maritimes in the coming days.

The low-pressure system started affecting southern Ontario Wednesday morning, with snowfall warnings issued for the areas around Toronto.

According to Environment Canada, the City of Toronto should receive between 15 and 25 cm of snow before Thursday morning.

The system has already moved into Ontario from the U.S. southwest with the majority of the snow supposed to fall later on Wednesday afternoon and into the evening.

“(There are) a lot of warnings and watches out there from a nasty system that developed deep in the heart of Texas and has picked up a lot of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico,” David Phillips, a senior climatologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, told CTV News Channel. “It’s been affecting millions of Americans and certainly Canadians now in eastern Canada are going to feel the effects of it.”

The worst of the snowfall is expected overnight into Thursday morning.

Environment Canada warns that Thursday afternoon will usher in strong snow squalls and blowing snow in the areas east of Lake Huron, which may extend into the Golden Horseshoe.

The weather agency advised motorists to adjust their driving with the changing road conditions.

“Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow,” the warning read. “There may be a significant impact on rush hour traffic in urban areas.”

To the areas north of Toronto, snow will begin falling Wednesday afternoon around Barrie, Ont. with heavy snow continuing through the overnight hours and tapering to a few flurries by Thursday morning.

Further north around Haliburton, Ont., as much as 40 cm of snow could fall by late in the day Thursday.

East of Toronto, winter storm warnings are in effect for the Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes area, with 20 to 30 cm of snow expected by midday Thursday.

In Ottawa, light snow will fall Wednesday morning before it becomes heavy in the evening. The heavy snow will continue overnight with a whopping 20 to 40 cm expected by late in the day Thursday.

Environment Canada warned that snowfall amounts higher than 40 cm are possible in some areas, particularly those near the Quebec border.

“Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve. Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations,” the warning read.

The storm system is expected to continue to track eastward, with southwestern Quebec being hit Wednesday afternoon before affecting areas in the central part of the province Thursday.

In Montreal, Environment Canada’s snowfall warning predicts 10 to 20 cm of snow will fall in the region with the possibility of wet snow or a rain-snow mix overnight into Thursday. The precipitation could change to more sustained snow early Thursday morning, the weather agency said.

On Thursday afternoon and into the evening, New Brunswick will be hit with snow, at times heavy, that will move across the province from the southwest to the northeast.

Environment Canada warned that blowing snow could affect visibility in the region with snow mixing with or even changing into ice pellets at times on Thursday evening.

Fredericton is expected to receive 20 to 30 cm of snow between Thursday afternoon and Thursday night, according to the weather agency.

Finally, Nova Scotia residents will have to brace themselves for mighty winds, with a number of wind warnings in effect for the eastern part of the province.

The counties of Shelbourne, Yarmouth, and Digby are all under Environment Canada wind warnings with maximum gusts of 80 km/h expected Thursday afternoon and evening. Along parts of the coast, areas may even be hit with 100 km/h wind gusts at times.

“Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage,” the weather agency warned.

In addition to the wind, rainfall amounts of 15 to 25 mm are also possible for these areas as the low-pressure system passes over the province.

Phillips said that while the incoming storm looks to be fairly nasty, people in eastern Canada should consider how lucky they’ve been with such a mild winter at times this year.

“It’s been almost as if nature can’t make up its mind…particularly here in eastern Canada,” he said. “You don’t know whether you’re wearing your parka or your muscle shirt.”

Phillips doesn’t believe this is the last snowfall of the season, but said he thinks Canadians are nearing the end.

“There’s never been a spring without some snow in Toronto, but this may be the last big one.”

With files from Writer Ben Cousins