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.

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