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CINDY DAY: Storm stories strike a chord

Winter prematurely swung across the Maritimes on Sunday, October 20th  1974.   A powerful nor’easter with winds gusting to 100 km/h, dumped 39 cm of snow on the Halifax area.  Leaves and twigs strewn throughout the Halifax Commons served as a reminder of the intensity of the blizzard.

Photographer:	Wamboldt-Waterfield
Winter prematurely swung across the Maritimes on Sunday, October 20th 1974. A powerful nor’easter with winds gusting to 100 km/h, dumped 39 cm of snow on the Halifax area. Leaves and twigs strewn throughout the Halifax Commons served as a reminder of the intensity of the blizzard. Photographer: Wamboldt-Waterfield - Contributed

­­Since your letters and stories continue to fill my inbox, I would like to share a few more memories of the infamous October storm. It was a weather bomb; it came ashore near Sheet Harbour, N.S., and crossed over to the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Oct. 20, 1974. There were damaging winds and torrential rain on the east side of the low, and snow – lots of it – on the other side.

RELATED: CINDY DAY: Sharing memories across the miles…


From Michael Hayden, North Sydney, N.S.:

“I sure do remember that storm; I was 11 years old in grade 6 living in North Sydney. One of my classmates had a huge maple tree come crashing through the roof of their house destroying the bathroom. No one was hurt. The Irving garage on Main Street had a huge piece of the steel overhang that covered the pumps twisted and torn away. A lot of power lines were down and running across Pierce Street. I remember being with my brother and my dad in the car trying to get somewhere and we had to detour as wires were sparking and arcing in the puddles. Also, a 15-foot-tall tower-like fort made from scrap wood that me and my buddies built in a neighbouring backyard was still standing when all was said and done. We were amazed.

“Take care and keep up your great work…”

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Dear Cindy: I am not a fan of winter but love the fall and annually moan about it not being long enough.

On Oct. 18, 1974, my husband and I left for a conference in Memramcook, N.B. We picked up the keynote speaker who was from Montevideo, Uruguay. He commented on the colourful leaves as we drove through the Wentworth Valley. I replied that fall was my favourite time of year except that winter was so close behind. I did not realize how close.

The next morning, we could not believe our eyes to awaken to a full-blown blizzard. The power went out in the old monastery in which we were housed, and the only source of light was votive candles. Government services in N.B. were on strike so no long-distance calls, pre-cell phone days. There was no snow clearing and the few people who tried to leave ended up walking back when their cars got stuck going to the main highway. Even when the sun came out beautifully the next day it was only enough to melt the top layer and leave a wonderful sheet of ice for those of us who made our cautious way home on Monday. A weekend I will never forget and the reason, though I still say how much I love the fall, I never mention the "W" word at the same time.

Love your column, Sheilia Sperry


I have one more installment to share with you; more great stories on Saturday.



Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.


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