Some of the thousands of New Brunswickers who lost power during Wednesday night's snowstorm may be in the dark for days to come, says the public safety minister.
"NB Power has advised that tricky driving conditions are hampering their efforts to assess and repair the damage and it may be a few days before power is fully restored," Stephen Horsman said in a statement late Thursday afternoon.
It will take crews most of Thursday to assess the damage, the statement said.
More than 48,000 of NB Power's customers were knocked offline by the first major winter storm of the season in the Maritimes. The storm dumped 35 centimetres of snow on parts of the province — and Environment Canada says more is on the way.
Power-wise, the Fredericton area was the hardest-hit, with more than 21,000 homes and businesses without electrical service at one point.
As of 10:30 p.m. AT, the number of customers without power across the province still hovered at around 4,600, according to the utility's website.
"Crews are working hard to restore power as soon as possible," Horsman said.
Meanwhile, he is urging motorists to avoid travelling if possible, citing downed power lines and hazardous driving conditions.