Brac­ing for a bl­iz­zard

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID JALA

Cape Bre­ton is brac­ing for what could be one of the big­gest storms of the win­ter.

A low-pres­sure sys­tem was ex­pected to form off Cape Cod and to in­ten­sify late Sun­day, when it was fore­cast to hit south­west Nova Sco­tia be­fore reach­ing Cape Bre­ton around noon to­day.

En­vi­ron­ment Canada has is­sued a bl­iz­zard warn­ing for the is­land with snow­fall ac­cu­mu­la­tions of be­tween 30 and 50 cen­time­tres. Other parts of Nova Sco­tia may re­ceive up to 70 cm of the white stuff. The fore­cast calls for stormy con­di­tions with gusty winds and near-zero vis­i­bil­ity. The ex­treme weather is ex­pected to grip the prov­ince un­til Tuesday morn­ing.

Nova Sco­tia’s Emer­gency Man­age­ment Of­fice opened its provin­cial co-or­di­na­tion cen­tre on Sun­day evening to mon­i­tor the storm and co-or­di­nate sup­port where needed.

“Strong winds and heavy snow are a recipe for dif­fi­cult driv­ing con­di­tions,” said Trans­porta­tion and In­fra­struc­ture Re­newal Min­is­ter Ge­off MacLel­lan in a writ­ten re­lease is­sued Sun­day.

“Mo­torists are ad­vised to stay off the roads if pos­si­ble for their safety and to al­low plow driv­ers to safely clear the roads.”

One of those snow­plow op­er­a­tors is Neil Walsh, who was busy pre­par­ing equip­ment at the depart­ment’s Sydney River de­pot.

“I like it out there, it’s fun, but it’s chal­leng­ing — it’s an im­por­tant job that needs to be done,” said Walsh, who ex­pects to be work­ing some of the area’s se­condary high­ways.

While the snow is ex­pected to pile up on land, se­vere con­di­tions are also ex­pected along the coast. En­vi­ron­ment Canada has is­sued a storm surge warn­ing as higher-than-nor­mal wa­ter lev­els, com­bined with to­day’s high tides, are ex­pected to pro­duce lo­cal­ized flood­ing along parts of the coast­line.

“The storm surge and strong winds can make the shore­line dan­ger­ous very quickly — I urge Nova Sco­tians to stay away from the coast dur­ing this storm,” said Zach Churchill, the min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for the prov­ince’s EMO.

An­other 10 cm of snow is fore­cast for Cape Bre­ton on Thurs­day, but the good news is that the tem­per­a­ture is ex­pected to rise above the freez­ing mark.

DAVID JALA/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Equip­ment operator Neil Walsh checks to make sure a snow­plow truck is in proper work­ing at the Nova Sco­tia Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion de­pot in Sydney River on Sun­day. En­vi­ron­ment Canada has is­sued a bl­iz­zard warn­ing for the en­tire prov­ince with the storm ex­pected to hit Cape Bre­ton by noon to­day. The fore­cast calls for ac­cu­mu­la­tions of up to 50 cm for the is­land, while other parts of the prov­ince may re­ceive as much as 70 cm. The storm is also ex­pected to fea­ture strong winds with gusts of up to 110 km/h.

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