160 km/h winds could cause damage, send shingles flying in parts of Cape Breton

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Waves crash Tuesday along the coast of Grand Étang, a small community in Inverness County on Cape Breton Island.  (Brittany Wentzell/CBC - image credit)
Waves crash Tuesday along the coast of Grand Étang, a small community in Inverness County on Cape Breton Island. (Brittany Wentzell/CBC - image credit)

Some students in Cape Breton were dismissed early from class and residents were told to watch out for flying roof shingles Tuesday as Environment Canada warned of Les Suêtes winds gusting up to 160 km/h.

The wind warning was issued from Margaree Harbour in Inverness County to Bay St. Lawrence in Victoria County as a low-pressure system pushed into Nova Scotia from New England. Gusts were expected to subside early Wednesday.

"They're able to pick up loose objects, throw them around quite easily. Anything that's not tied down or secure certainly can be pulled off or blown away with winds of this strength," said meteorologist Ian Hubbard of Environment Canada.

Matt Moore/CBC
Matt Moore/CBC

Winds gusting to 120 km/h were forecast for Tuesday afternoon. That's nothing new for the area, but the winds were expected to build through the evening and clock in at 160 km/h overnight.

"Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions due to high winds. Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur," said Environment Canada on its website.

Students at the Cape Breton Highlands Education Centre/Academy in Terre Noire were let out early from class as a precaution.

"Our staff determined that high winds would impact bus routes returning home at the regular dismissal time this afternoon and therefore it was decided to begin dismissing students at 2 p.m.," said Deanna Gillis, a spokesperson for the Strait Regional Centre for Education, in an email.

Submitted by Alfred Aucoin
Submitted by Alfred Aucoin

People who live in the area are usually prepared for Les Suêtes winds. The strong southeasterly winds can exceed 200 km/h.

"You don't just open a door or a window or anything or you're going to lose it. People around here, we're really used to it," said Inverness County councillor Claude Poirier.

"Accidents do happen, things blow over, but usually everybody prepares for it."

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