Slow-moving blizzard lingers over Cape Breton
Up to 50 cm of snow could fall in some areas; whiteouts expected to continue all day
Much of Cape Breton was shut down Monday as a blizzard slowly tracked its way across the Maritimes.
The meandering nor’easter brought many parts of the province to a standstill before crossing into Cape Breton in the late afternoon. The system was expected to linger over the island for 18 hours, dumping 30 to 50 centimetres of snow in some areas and churning up frequent whiteouts with wind gusts between 90 and 110 kilometres expected until late this afternoon.
“You’re in for a long night of what the rest of region has been going through all day — it’s your turn now in Cape Breton,” Environment Canada meteorologist Darin Borgel said Monday night.
“It’s going to be certainly a very significant event when this is all said and done, and probably one for the record books in some regard for many places.”
Workday life had already come to a halt in much of Cape Breton in the hours ahead of the storm.
Classes across the island were cancelled for the entire day and many businesses and government offices closed early. Marine Atlantic ferry crossings and flights out of J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport were also called off in advance of the impending winter blast.
Staff-Sgt. Ken O’Neill of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service said it was a quiet night for the officer, noting that most motorists heeded warnings to stay off the roads.
“So far call volume is not too bad — people are staying home and that’s what we want them to do and stay safe,” he said, adding that it’s important for people to follow winter parking regulations so snow plows can clean up the streets quickly.
“We want motorists to just get their vehicles off the road and let the heavy equipment operators do their job, so we’ll be watching for that as well.” While outages were rampant and parts of Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick were hit by as much as 70 centimetres in localized areas, the power remained on in much of Cape Breton as of Monday night. About 1,500 homes stretching from Christmas Island east to Point Edward were without electricity, as were a handful of customers in the Margaree area.
Unfortunately, most people will just be finishing digging out before the next storm blows in.
Borgel said they are now tracking a system that’s expected to hit Cape Breton on Thursday.
“There might be some freezing rain and ice pellets in there — there’s going to be some warm air and maybe even some rain — so at this point it might get to warning criteria, which would be 15 centimetres, but it’s really hard to say at this point.”
The Big Fiddle on the Sydney waterfront is seen as the snow began to fall early Monday evening. A slow-moving blizzard was expected to linger over Cape Breton until early this morning, with up to 50 centimetres of snow expected to fall in some localized areas and whiteouts conditions forecast until late this afternoon.
Ken Jessome of Sydney walks in the blowing snow along a mostly deserted Charlotte Street in Sydney on Monday. A meandering nor’easter moved into Cape Breton early Monday evening and was expected to deliver more than 30 centimetres of snow and high winds until later today.