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Record Snow

Record Snow

December 15th, 2008  · stk

Nanaimo - Record snow fell on Sunday, dumping 33 centimeters overnight and in the morning. Record cold temperatures accompanied this record snow dump, changing what had been a mild winter thus far, into something a tad more extreme.

Thirty Six Centimeters of Snow

Rachel and the Oop were off visiting grandparents in Vancouver, so they missed witnessing yesterday's record snowfall.

"When I went to bed on Saturday night," Scott said, "there had only been a light snowfall that afternoon and nothing after that. When the fire hall pager went off at 5:30 AM Sunday morning, I woke up and looked out the window. It was a white winter wonderland!"

Thirty three centimeters of snow had fallen, during the night. Outside, Scott flipped "the beast" into 4-wheel-drive and plowed his way to the North Cedar Fire Hall, seven kilometers away. There, personnel put chains on the front-line pumper (Engine 1), back-up pumper (Engine 7) and the water tender (Tender 6).

Another 3 centimeters fell Sunday morning, bringing the December 14th total to 36 centimeters. This beat the previous December 14th record of 19.8 centimeters, which was set in 2000.

For more Nanaimo snow records and photos ... carry on.

Record Temperatures Accompany Record Snow

It wasn't until after noon that snow plows cleared the major roads in Cedar and Yellow Point. Till then, motorists were on their own, navigating the drifts, ruts and piles. There were more than a few cars in the ditch or off the road, but there wasn't any emergency call-outs for the day, so everyone must've faired well enough.

By afternoon, the major roadways were cleared and the only big challenge facing motorists were secondary residential roads, digging out cars or getting out of snow-filled driveways. No snow is predicted for the next couple of days and Monday morning dawned bright, clear and unseasonably cold.

The Hutton House chickens are freaking out. Their watering can had be thawed and filled with hot water, a couple of times, so they could have access to something other than solid ice. They balked at the snow piled up in their run and elected to spend the majority of Sunday, cooped up inside their chicken coop, huddled together for warmth. (The baby chickens, living in a 2-foot by 3-foot wire cage, were kept in the garage and heated with a 60-watt light bulb. Unlike their full-grown counterparts, they're sick of being cooped up and want out, though I'm sure they wouldn't be too keen, after running around in snow deeper than their beaks!)

Sunday night, temperatures plummeted to -9°C (15.8°F), setting a record low temperature. With winds on Monday, the chill factor makes it feel more like -18°C, which is pretty bloody cold for this coastal area.

The Nanaimo area was hit harder with snow than any of the surrounding areas, because it sits directly opposite Howe Sound. Frigid, Arctic air comes streaming down this sound, across the Strait of Georgia, hitting Vancouver Island near Nanaimo, which causes a big dump of snow. Areas to the north and south of Nanaimo received far less snow (11 centimeters in Comox and Campbell River, to the north and 16 centimeters in Saanich, to the south).

Other Nanaimo snow, temp records:

• All-time Snow Dump High (24-hr period) - 73.7 Centimeters set on February 12th, 1975
• Greatest December Snowfall - 47.8 centimeters set on Dec 27, 1965
• Previous lowest-recorded Dec 14th temperature - -8.9°C set in 1955

Rachel had problems getting the 1993 Subaru Legacy wagon out of the yard this morning. It's not four-wheeled drive and needed to get a head of steam before it could climb the snow-covered rise leading to the road. She spun off the road a bit, on a residential road, after picking up her commuting buddy, then had to park at the top of a residential hill - walking the Oop down the hill to day-care - to avoid problems getting back up the slick, ice/snow-covered roadway. Though it took her an extra half-hour to get to work, she reported no other mishaps and said that - in town - most of the roadways were clear.

Cold temperatures are forecast for most of the week, with the possibility of snow near the end of the week. Who knows ... the snow may be around for a while. I'll be curious to see how the chickens adapt. Maybe I'll have to make tiny snowshoes for them and buy some heat tape to wrap around their water jug?

In other news ... we're really starting to cut into the woodshed, burning all that firewood that Scott labored over last spring and summer!

Dec 17th Update

Below average temperatures has been the norm, since the snow storm. Nothing's really melted and instead, like today, we've received even MORE snow! The forecast is for continued cold, punctuated by days of snow. Looks like it's going to be a white Christmas!

The weather is taking a toll on our automobiles, as Rachel's 1991 Subaru Loyale wagon lost an alternator on her drive home from a 12-hour day shift, the day after the big snow storm. (We had to tow it home - $80 - and then get a rebuilt replacement - $140 - as Scott braved freezing cold weather to play with metal parts, yesterday). The beast isn't immune either, as starting her has been hit-and-miss (seems the cold is taking its toll on the battery).

So far, no frozen pipes ... though we lost power for about an hour yesterday. The chickens still don't know what to make of all the cold and weren't too thrilled when I moved the "baby" chicks out there (the first time the two girl groups have met). In fact, the older girls were downright hostile to the young'ns, pecking at them and causing quite a ruckus (I ended up separating them by some temporary fencing and ... as a fitting punishment to their bad behavior ... the older girls pellet trough is on the baby chicks side of the fence! Don't worry, they have plenty of food inside their coop.);)

We did, however, manage to fit in some play time, fetching Alex from the bus with a plastic tobaggan and towing her home in it. She then had fun riding down the driveway and playing with the neighbor kids (she was even invited over for dinner, last night)! So far, however, no snowmen have been built. Just keeping the walkways clear has been a challenge.

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1.flag Gary Comment
12/16/08
Wow and Wow again !

We have NEVER seen snow like that here in Blighty.

The most we get in Blackpool is about 1 - 4 cm ;) They reckon the salty sea air keeps it away, further inland they get some but not a patch on yours.

Its a perfect picture postcard and whilst Kelsey and Jemma get excited about that amount of snow you got, it can't be much fun day after day when you have to get out and about.

Sure looks nice on the photo though :) did you make a snow man with Alex?
Gz
2.flag John Comment
12/17/08
All I remember about that side of Canada was that it was mild and wet while Ontario was buried in snow.
I guess all preconceived ideas about weather are out the window.
3.flag stk Comment
12/17/08
Gary - Not a lot of fun is right, especially when one car craps out, the power goes south and the "good car" fails to start! Still, we managed to have some fun! ;)

John - Hard for me to say what "normal" is around these parts, as it seems to replaced by more "abby"-normal than anything else! I figure we're all set for the global warming drought, sea-level rise and warmer temperatures!
4.flag Gary Comment
12/24/08
Gutted ! Just seen this on Yahoo.co.uk today:

'No chance' of a white Xmas

A white Christmas will remain a dream this year with Britain highly unlikely to see any snow, experts have said. :(
5.flag stk Comment
12/24/08
LOL ... not to "rub it in", but it snowed AGAIN last night! (Still can't get the car onto the roadway ... got stuck twice making an attempt). In fact, we got the 4x4 beast stuck last night, just outside our front gate!

Fairly certain we're at 110% chance of a "White Christmas" (heard on TV somewhere that our normal "chance" of a white Christmas is somewhere around 11%)

I'd gladly trade ya!

Merry Christmas!