Newfoundland Power warns tens of thousands could be without power overnight

About 70,000 Newfoundland Power customers are without electricity — the majority of them in the St. John's area — and the situation is expected to remain that way overnight.

Michele Coughlan of the power utility told CBC News on Saturday evening that about 60,000 customers in the St. John's area are without power, with the remaining 10,000 customers in the Bay Roberts area and on the Burin Peninsula.

The high winds — gusts between 120 and 160 km/h — have hampered restoration efforts.

Newfoundland Power says all crews are working and responding where and when they can, but with the winds expected to remain high into the night, the utility expects outages could last overnight.

Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady stressed patience as crews attempt to tackle downed power lines in windy conditions. 

"It will be important for people to understand that this may take some time," she said. 

In the meantime, she encouraged others to stay alert.

"We need to stay safe, stay warm, and make sure you check on your neighbours and your friends."

Wind and blizzard warnings still in effect

Wind warnings are still in effect for the entire Avalon Peninsula and Clarenville area.

Environment Canada is expecting the winds to subside overnight but warns that vehicles are at high risk of being overturned or losing control along exposed roads and of potential damage from downed trees and loose objects.

Elsewhere in the province, blizzard warnings are in effect from Labrador's southeast coast through Newfoundland's west coast and into central Newfoundland, with blowing snow reducing visibility to zero in many areas.

Snowfall totals expected by Sunday morning range from 15 to 40 centimetres in various areas.

Ferry crossings and flights were delayed or cancelled throughout the day, with Marine Atlantic postponing its Cabot Strait runs until Sunday.

Provincial ferry crossings were also affected, with most ferries out of service for the day.