Hurricane season brings high winds. Why northern Cape Breton is always ready

Capers are well-versed in battening down the hatches due to Les Suêtes winds

While most Nova Scotians brace for high winds only during hurricane season, those living in northern Cape Breton, where hurricane-force winds are a monthly event, learned long ago to roll with the punches.

"Halifax gets it once a year and they think it's the end of the world. We're kind of used to it down here," says Leonard Leblanc, who has been a resident of Chéticamp for more than 60 years.

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Last weekend, post-tropical storm Lee brought winds in excess of 100 kilometres an hour to some areas of the province, but in Chéticamp, where residents are used to Les Suêtes winds that often exceed 200 kilometres an hour, they likely didn't blink.

Residents are used to keeping a keen eye on the weather forecast, and making sure to nail everything they can down outside before its too late.

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Flags are shown in Chéticamp being blown by strong winds. (Matt Moore/CBC)

And for many years now, new homes in the area have been built with these winds in mind.

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Northern Cape Breton had 32 Les Suêtes events last year, says meteorologist Bob Robichaud with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

"The areas that get the Les Suêtes winds are well fortified. You would need an extreme type of Les Suêtes winds to result in impacts there because the infrastructure is just so hardened by the frequency of these winds," he said.

But if you want to build a home that lasts, said Joey Poirier, the owner of a construction company in Chéticamp, the only answer is concrete.

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Chéticamp's Joey Poirier says concrete is king when it comes to buildings sustaining heavy winds. (David Burke/CBC)

"It's never going anywhere, never going away, it will last forever," Poirier said.

Information Morning Cape Breton's David Burke visited Chéticamp to find out what the rest of the province can learn from leaning into the wind.

Thumbnail courtesy of David Burke/CBC.

The story was originally written and published for CBC News. It contains files from David Burke.