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Snow is on the way to Cape Breton, but it won't be very much

Connor Gibbons, a technician at Ok Tire in Sydney River, works at putting snow tires on a vehicle, Wednesday. Chess Miles, service manager, said as soon as the word snow is part of a forecast this time of year, there is a mad scramble for people to get their snow tires on.
Connor Gibbons, a technician at Ok Tire in Sydney River, works at putting snow tires on a vehicle, Wednesday. Chess Miles, service manager, said as soon as the word snow is part of a forecast this time of year, there is a mad scramble for people to get their snow tires on. - Sharon Montgomery-Dupe
SYDNEY, N.S. —

The word "snow" puts a little fear — and some last-minute scrambling — in the air.

"Absolutely,” said Chess Miles, service manager of Ok Tire, an auto repair shop in Sydney River, on Tuesday. “The last 24 hours days the phone has been ringing steady and people buying and installing winter tires and getting ready for winter.”

Miles said although the weather has been good, hearing the possibility of snow in the forecast for the weekend has got people moving to get their winter tires on, especially people traveling.

However, this is nothing new. It's practically an annual tradition. in Cape Breton

Basically, Miles said, most people put the task of installing winter tires off until the last minute. Miles said there’s only a handful of people who are organized and put them on early and are prepared, mainly seniors.

“If we get a little sign of snow early, we get busier earlier,” he said. “It’s’ when the weather changes, when we get our prediction of weather. Most of our customers are last-minute or right before it happens.”

Ian Hubbard, meteorologist for Environment Canada, said a storm will hit the Maritimes, but for most of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia it now looks like rain.

“The majority of snow will be affecting New Brunswick and areas to the west,” he said.

“It’s certain going to be one of the more significant ones they’ve gotten this year. It’s definitely one we’re concerned about and have been paying attention to the last few days.

Hubbard said rain is forecast to hit Cape Breton and other parts of Nova Scotia on Friday, with 20-30 mm of expected in the Sydney area and 15-20 mm on the mainland.

The only part of the island that could get snow is upwards of 5-10 km flurries in the highlands and other parts of the western end of the island, overnight Friday before dawn on Saturday.

In the Sydney area, the first sight of the white stuff this year will be possibly on Saturday.

Hubbard said northwesterly winds overnight Friday into Saturday morning will likely bring flurries and strong winds.

“You certainly might see flakes overnight Friday and into Saturday morning,” Hubbard said. “It will be the first time we’ve seen some snow in the Sydney area this year.“

On Friday, winds from the southeast are expected to bring gusts of 50-60 km/h in Sydney, gusting to 70 km/h or possibly more overnight.

“They will slowly weaken to gusts of 50-60 km/h in the morning and continue to weaken throughout the day.”

Temperatures will drop to 0 C Friday night and Saturday a daytime high of 2 C is expected. On Sunday milder temperatures usually seen this time of year are expected to return for a few days.

Hubbard said the first snow of the season they call a trace amount, as it’s not measurable. In the Sydney area a trace amount of snow was recorded as early as Oct. 1, 1992. The record for earliest measurable amount was 2.8 cm of snow on Oct. 5, 1984.

On Oct. 19, 1972, Sydney measured 15.7 cm of snow.

For the month of November, Hubbard said normally there’d be an average of 12.4 cm of snow in the Sydney area. In 2018 there was 22.8 cm recorded for the month and in 2017, only 5.6 cm. The first snowfall for 2018 was Nov. 13, dropping about 4 cm on the area.

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