Good excuse to stay inside

Laura Jean Grant
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System brings high winds, snow, rain, freezing rain, and icy conditions to the island

SYDNEY — Snow, freezing rain, and rain followed by a flash freeze, more snow and high winds combined to produce poor driving conditions and a good excuse to stay inside and watch the Olympics Sunday.

The snow began late Saturday night across the island and by Sunday morning the precipitation had changed to freezing rain or rain in most areas of Cape Breton. Roads were snow-, slush- and ice-covered for much of the morning but plows worked quickly to clear most highways and streets by early afternoon, when temperatures dropped quickly below the freezing point. Snow and high winds picked up again late in the day, causing poor road conditions once again.

The Canso Causeway was temporarily closed by RCMP early Sunday evening, after a tractor trailer flipped over. They reported high winds in the area, resulting in blowing snow and extremely poor visibility. Motorists were being encouraged to avoid traveling in the area.

A flash freeze warning — issued when rapidly dropping temperatures are expected to produce very icy conditions — was in effect for Cape Breton most of Sunday. Wind warnings were also in effect for the whole island with strong westerly winds gusting at times from 90 to 110 km/h, particularly late in the day.

A power pole alongside Seaside Drive in River Ryan came down in the storm early Sunday, closing a section of the road for a couple of hours and making for a significant detour for motorists.

Nova Scotia Power spokesperson Neera Ritcey said they believe high wind gusts caused the pole to lean and later break. Crews replaced the pole Sunday afternoon.

As of 5 p.m. Sunday, there were power outages in several parts of the island including some areas of Sydney, Ingonish and surrounding communities, Queensville and West Bay Road, and Main-a-Dieu and Catalone and area. Approximately 3,700 customers were without power in Cape Breton.

In the Cape Breton Highlands, more snow than rain was the order of the day Sunday, and a storm surge warning was in effect for all of Inverness County.

The high wind and sea conditions also forced the cancellation of the 11:45 p.m. Marine Atlantic ferry sailings from both North Sydney and Port aux Basques, N.L., Sunday. Marine Atlantic also advised that due to forecasted high winds, Monday's sailings might also be impacted.

Air travel throughout the region was also affected as Air Canada issued a travel advisory noting flights out of Sydney, and most other airports in Atlantic Canada, may be delayed or cancelled due to the weather.

The inclement weather forced the cancellation or postponment of a number of events including the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) budget consultation meeting scheduled for Sunday evening at the legion in North Sydney, and a community appreciation day in Gabarus, celebrating the near-completion of the seawall repairs. Ski Ben Eoin closed for the day, as did the Cape Breton University library.

Monday's forecast from Environment Canada, calls for a mix of sun and cloud in the CBRM and Richmond County, mainly cloudy conditions in southern Inverness County, and flurries and local blowing snow in Victoria County and northern Inverness County, giving 2-4 cm. Looking ahead, there's more stormy weather in the forecast for Cape Breton with periods of snow or rain in the forecast for Wednesday, and periods of snow and blowing snow predicted for Thursday.

ljgrant@cbpost.com

Organizations: Metro inc.

Geographic location: Cape Breton County, SYDNEY, Inverness County Victoria County Mabou Northern Inverness Richmond

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Recent comments

  • Jordan
    February 16, 2014 - 20:32

    The reduced salt budget this year has been brutal on the roads. It is very dangerous driving out there and the roads have been badly damaged by the resulting ice build up.

  • Angry man
    February 16, 2014 - 19:45

    What kind of 3rd world city do we live in where the power goes out for almost 4 hours?

    • Be happy
      February 16, 2014 - 21:09

      I take it you've never been to a 3rd world city. Someone complaining about 1st world problems and calling them 3rd world problems... sigh.

  • fed up
    February 16, 2014 - 17:59

    Might as well cancel school for the next week. Roads "might" be a little slippery tomorrow and of course the impending storm coming 4 days from now.