HALIFAX – A fall storm packing winds that gusted to almost 130 kilometres an hour closed schools, shut down ferry services and knocked out power throughout the Maritimes early Thursday.“The Maritimes are closed today. Call again later,” one Twitter user joked after thousands of people in Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and New Brunswick awoke to darkness when the powerful winds blew through the region overnight and into the morning.“It was very quick moving, so it crossed over Nova Scotia and into the Gulf of St. Lawrence in a short time frame,” said Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.“It was very intense in terms of its impacts in a short time.”Nova Scotia appeared to be the hardest hit, with more than 24,000 customers without power in outages that spanned much of the province from Bridgewater to northern Cape Breton, which saw the highest wind gusts — 128 km/h — in Grand Etang.By 11 a.m., there were about 200 outages affecting 14,000 customers.In Halifax, the winds temporarily closed the MacKay Bridge to high-sided vehicles and became the butt of a few Twitter jokes, with one man referencing a previous storm, “The surprise hurricane this morning is delightful. Didn’t see this Juan coming.”Several schools in Cape Breton as well as the Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth were forced to close for the day due to power outages.P.E.I. was also hit by raging winds that cut off power to about 4,300 customers in dozens of communities early Thursday, closed or delayed the opening of some schools and restricted travel by high-sided vehicles on the Confederation Bridge.Hubbard said wind gusts reached 102 km/h in Charlottetown.New Brunswick also saw a school closed due to a power outage, with NB Power reporting about 1,300 customers in the southern part of the province without power early Thursday. Most of those outages had been restored by midday.The province’s Green party leader, David Coon, used the blustery storm for a political jab, tweeting “Winds of change blowing this morning.”The storm also brought heavy rain to parts of Nova Scotia, which saw 54.9 millimetres of rain in Baccaro Point — almost half of that falling in one hour.Hubbard said the storm is moving north toward Newfoundland and Labrador, which could see wind gusts of 100 km/h and some rain.