Less than a week has passed since a messy storm hit Atlantic Canada and Maritimers are once again preparing to dig out.

CTV meteorologist Cindy Day says a winter storm watch has been issued for all of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the southern half of New Brunswick. The watches will be upgraded to winter storm warnings as the storm nears.

“It’s looking more like a blizzard than a simple blast of winter. In fact, this storm is taking on textbook characteristics of a true Nor’easter,” says Day.

“With cold air in place, the snowfall numbers will be impressive. To make matters worse, the snow will be accompanied by strong northeast winds that will cause whiteout conditions Saturday into Sunday.”

Chris Driscoll, the president of a Halifax-based snow removal company, says his crews took some much needed down time Thursday before the big storm hits.

“On days like this there’s down time for the employees and the guys doing the work because when it does snow, they work around the clock,” he says.

Provincial snow removal crews are also gearing up for the storm.

“We got every piece of equipment that we own, the plow sanders, drivers, because we know this is coming, we have this heads up,” says Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Maurice Smith.

The province’s Department of Transportation has already spent about half of its $54-million budget on snow removal, cleaning up after a stretch of messy storms.

Retailers across the region are also planning ahead to deal with a lack of employees.

“We don't expect them to make it in, the mall bases their decision on what the buses do, so if buses shut down, the mall will shut down,” says Mike Risk, a department sales manager in Halifax.

For people planning to travel by air in the coming days, the system is creating headaches before it even hits.

Air Canada has issued a travel alert for Halifax and St. John’s for Saturday and Sunday.

Senior travel consultant Myranda Miller says her agency has been busy answering phone calls from concerned clients.

“There’s going to be some changes, there’s going to be some delays.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Felicia Yap