• Cape Breton's Les Suêtes winds regularly gust up to 160 km/h
• More than a dozen wind turbines are scattered throughout the island
• Earlier in 2016, a wind turbine in Port Hawksbury collapsed during maintenance. No one was hurt
People in the Grand Étang area of Nova Scotia's Inverness County tweeted photos and video of a wind turbine, whose main trunk was snapped clean in two, with the leftover blade apparatus lying at its base.
A wind warning was in effect for the area at the time, and though coastal wind gusts in the 70-100 km/h range are possible in western Nova Scotia as the day wears on, Cape Breton could be lashed with winds in excess of 140 km/h, according to Environment Canada.
It's not the first time a Cape Breton wind turbine has run into trouble. In August 2016, one turbine near Port Hawksbury, on the western shore of the island opposite the mainland, spun out of control and broke in twoduring routine maintenance work. No one was hurt in the incident.
Nova Scotia Power's website says wind power accounts for some 14 per cent of the province's energy output, and Cape Breton hosts more than a dozen turbines scattered across the island.
The turbine that collapsed this week is located in a part of the province often buffeted by strong Les Suêtes winds. Wind gusts often reach 160 km/h there, and can reach even higher levels, equivalent to a category 3 hurricane, though they are not generated in the same way.
The winds are so strong that residents of the area have to adapt by building their roofs to accommodate them. Environment Canada has a specialized Les Suêtes wind warning that it issues for the area, similar to the Wreckhouse wind warning sometimes issued for Newfoundland's southwestern tip.