As Cape Breton continues cleanup from a record-breaking snowfall earlier this month which blocked roads and trapped people in their homes, the region is now preparing for another storm this week.
According to a winter storm watch from Environment Canada, another nor’easter is on the way, expected to bring 15 to 30 of snow across most of Nova Scotia by noon Wednesday.
“Currently, highest snowfall amounts are expected along the Atlantic coast,” it said.
“Any fresh snow from this system has the potential to combine with strengthening northerly winds to reduce visibilities in blowing snow, particularly on Tuesday night as temperatures drop after sunset.”
Environment Canada noted that “small changes in the storm track can result in large changes in the snowfall forecast,” and it will continue to provide updates to reflect the latest information.
Amanda McDougall, mayor of Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said crews are still working to clean up last weekend’s snowfall, where up to 150 centimetres of snow was dumped in some areas.
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The extreme snowfall prompted a local state of emergency, which was lifted Sunday.
“There’s been incredible progress from both our municipal public works and provincial public works,” McDougall said.
“But there’s still so much to do around widening (roads) and also removal of some snow banks in specific areas.
“Going along some roads here, the snow banks are four times the height of my car.”
With more snow on the way, McDougall said the municipality is “very, very capable of handling this” – especially since some of last weekend’s snow has had a chance to melt.
“I was talking to one of my council colleagues today, and he said to me, ‘You know what, mayor? Thirty centimetres, we can handle that,’” she said.
“It’s interesting, the perspective of 150 centimetres, what that does to you in terms of your worry for storms.”
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McDougall said many of the additional resources that were brought in for the last storm, such as plows from other parts of the province and crews from Team Rubicon, are still in place and will help with the next storm as well.
She visited the municipality’s incident command centre Monday and was impressed by the “humongous team” ready to help.
“That was really an emotional moment, to see how many people were there to take care of us,” she said.
They’re trying to get ahead of snow clearing now so there’s less to handle when the next snowfall comes.
“It’s just 24/7 operations in terms of snow removal: removing snow, trying to reduce banks as much as possible,” she said.
“That’s all we can possibly do, and just hope that the storm keeps going south.”
While the mayor is confident the municipality can handle more snow, she had a word of advice for residents: “Don’t put your shovels away.”
“Keep doing what you’re doing: keep checking in on each other,” she said, adding that it’s also “really important” to ensure people remove snow safely by taking lots of breaks to avoid exhaustion.
“Just do it safely and take care of each other.”
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