Freezing rain leaves thousands without power in Cape Breton

Freezing rain has left thousands without power in Cape Breton.

Environment Canada has freezing rain warnings in effect Tuesday for all counties east of, and including, Guysborough and Antigonish counties. 

According to the national weather service, periods of freezing rain are expected this afternoon over the eastern mainland of the province and Cape Breton. 

The freezing rain could change over to periods of light snow for the eastern half of the mainland and Cape Breton before ending in the evening. 

As of 12:45 p.m. nearly 7,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were without electricity in the North Sydney and Sydney areas, as well as along Route 4 and the Eskasoni Highway.

Nova Scotia Power spokesman David Rodenhiser says NSP anticipated problems when it saw the weather forecast. 

"As the storm approached Cape Breton and moved across the province we were pre-staging crews across Cape Breton," he said.

"So right now between power line crews and tree crews, we have 82 people on the Island today working on the front lines to restore electricity." 

Power is expected to be restored in most areas by 5 p.m., he said.

Because of the weather, the Strait Regional School Board and Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board cancelled Tuesday classes. The weather also delayed some flights at Halifax Stanfield International Airport Tuesday morning. 

CBC meteorologist Brennan Allen says things will start to clear this evening before clouds move in and flurries and snow begin from west to east across Nova Scotia. This means there will likely be a "plowable" — more than five centimetres —amount of snow Wednesday into Thursday.

That low pressure system is currently over Quebec and is expected to bring flurries and showers to the region Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday's storm has prompted Environment Canada to issue special weather statements for parts of Cumberland, Pictou, Antigonish, Inverness, Richmond, Victoria and Cape Breton counties.