Traffic was light on Nova Scotia's Highway 102 as a winter storm hit the region on March 4, 2019.

After a green Christmas in most of the Maritimes, much of Nova Scotia and parts of New Brunswick are hunkering down under the first snowstorm of 2021.

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for a vast swath of Nova Scotia stretching from the Annapolis Valley to Victoria County and Cape Breton. Most of the region can expect between 15 and 25 centimetres of snow on Saturday, said Environment Canada meteorologist Spencer Clements, from his post in Dartmouth, N.S.

High-terrain parts of the northern mainland and Cape Breton could see more than 30 centimetres, he said in an interview Saturday.

"There's going to be a period of time where the snow will be very heavy, so it's going to be difficult to navigate the roads for a little while," Clements said.

Fifty years ago, a storm like this would be fairly average for Nova Scotia, he said. But over the past few years, winter storms have gotten milder and in comparison, Saturday's expected storm could be considered a doozy, he said. "I think in 2018, our biggest storm was only 30 centimetres. For most of mainland Nova Scotia last year, our biggest storm was 25," he added.

Environment Canada's forecast calls for the snow to taper off overnight.

The southern half of New Brunswick is also bracing for snow, with the agency calling for up to 25 centimetres in the region stretching from Fredericton to Moncton and south to Grand Manan.

Environment Canada says central New Brunswick from Carleton County to Kent County could also see up to 15 centimetres by the end of the day.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 2, 2021.