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A Week of Winter

A Week of Winter

March 5th, 2006  · stk

Our weird, mild winter weather came to an end last week, when a storm system blew through, dumping a record-setting pile of white stuff onto Alberta and our yard. In Edmonton, we received 13 centimeters of snow, which blanketed our brown lawn (Rachel heard on the radio, that it was the most amount of snow Edmonton has ever received in one dump, beating the previous record of 12.8cm by a smidge). It was followed a day or so later with the addition of a few more centimeters.

We finally were able to get out the tobaggan, which we used to haul Alex to day-care with, until everyone managed to shovel out from under the load of snow. Temperatures are holding at sub-freezing and just when we thought we might escape a winter in Edmonton, blammo ... we're knee deep in it.

Winter of Our Heart's Content

Up until last week, we've been having a very unusual winter. After our September snow, last year, we were preparing ourselves for an anticipated onslaught of cold and snow. It never materialized. Instead, we had a brown Christmas and indeed, all of Canada was basking in warmer-than-normal weather, throughout December and January. This change was felt greatest on the prairies and "Winterpeg, Manisnowba" (a normally very cold capital city) was registering temperatures 14°C higher than normal.

Is this a sign of global warming? (If so, at this rate, we'll be planting citrus next year and soon be living in a desert).

In reality, it's "a total absence of cold air" that is explaining the phenomenon, according to Environment Canada. Maybe they should pay these guys more money - they're sharp as tacks? Actually, the answer is more complex, involving a swirling polar vortex which, during most winters, sits over Hudson Bay. This year, it lingered over northern Europe, warming Canadian toes, while frosting the Russians, instead.

It appears that the vortex has finally come home to roost. The result is pulling cold air down, across the prairies and into Ontario. Unfortunately, it will probably mean a delayed spring for us (just as winter was "delayed").

Too bad! :| We had nearly forgotten what it was like to shovel snow and put the car on the block heater a half hour before starting the car. Perhaps we should cancel our order for citrus seedlings?

Soggy B.C.

While we enjoyed mild temperatures in December and January, it is interesting to note that Vancouver, from where we moved, set a record this year - "most days of rain in January since record-keeping began, in 1937". They had 29 days of rain, in the 31-day month. :( Yuck.

In fact, they nearly broke a couple of other records.

  • total January rainfall (1992 281.8mm)
  • consecutive-day rain record (1953 28 days) (fell one day short)

In short ... it was depressing, as reported by Rachel's folks. Evacuation alerts on the North Shore, because of mud slide fears. Flooded basements kept restoration workers busy. Day, after day of rain (as we can attest) just dampens the spirits.

Who would have ever thought that our Edmontonian winter would be better than Vancouver's?

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Updated: 24-Nov-2007
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