Well… “Winter” doesn’t officially start for another three weeks, but already we’re up to our unmentionables in snow!
But, we console ourselves that we didn’t get hit as hard as Buffalo did.
I have to admit, some of the comments I heard and read left me, once again, shaking my head.
“Why hasn’t my road been plower?”
Gee, I don’t know. It could be because the snow is still falling, at a rate of 10 cm an hour.
That the City was struggling to keep the main routes open should have been a hint that the side streets were going to have to wait.
“That couldn’t have been a metre of snow! There’s less than a foot in my yard.”
Yes. Snow compacts. The three-dimensional crystals are quite fragile, and break apart when they land. And while, to us, a snowflake has almost no discernible weight, as they pile up on top of one another the combined weight of the fallen snow is significant, and the snow compacts. A lot.
It also gets blown around, melts, and sublimates (changes directly into a gas — water vapour).
As well, snow does not fall in a consistent depth across the region; some areas did get relatively little snow, while others were buried in the cursed white stuff.
What’s that? You get the impression I’m no fan of the snow? Well… yes and no.
I love looking out at a snow-blanketed landscape. It is one of the most beautiful sights.
But… I resent getting all bundled-up in coat and boots, mitts and hat, and… the COLD! Brr-r-r-r.
Still, I do enjoy going out in the snow — provided it is mild enough. A nice crisp −5°C is nice. Minus 15 is starting to be too cold, for my liking.
And plus 5 is a bit too mild… like today. Sure, the layer of ice and snow on the roof of my van has slid off, and the City and private contractors can scrape roads and parking lots down to the bare pavement.
But +5°C is a bit too mild. It’s damp, and while we’re not in danger of frostbite, it’s harder to stay warm in damp winter weather.
Really, if it’s going to be winter, then let’s have winter and not this half-way hint of spring-like weather we’re experiencing today.
I do prefer my winters to start in December and, if I had my way, they would end very shortly into January.
I would be very happy with snow for my birthday, Christmas and New Years, and then we can get back to Spring, thank you very much.
Alas! That is not the climate we have, nor do I know of any place that enjoys such a brief winter. Or at least, I know of no place that does and that does not also have to endure more severe weather — hurricanes, tornadoes, blistering summer heat and wild fires, etc.
Speaking of climate…
It is very unfortunate that during the 90s, when scientists, the media, and Al Gore were trying to decide how to present the growing body of evidence on climate change that the phrase “Global Warming” became stuck as the go-to reference.
The fact is that it is true that, overall, the Earth’s average temperature is increasing. It is also fact that this increase is, to the average person, almost imperceptible.
Again, I heard and read comments during the wintry onslaught that suggested “Global Warming” was being disproved simply by the presence of waist-high snowdrifts.
Climate change is happening. I leave it to others to debate mankind’s role in this, but that it is happening is undeniable.
One of the consequences of this change — the global warming — is an increase in extreme weather events.
I doubt that anyone can seriously deny that we have witnessed a number of very extreme weather events over the past decade — tsunamis, hurricanes, record-breaking precipitation as both rain and snow.
Global Warming doesn’t mean we won’t see less snow. It means that the conditions that cause extreme weather are more likely to occur in every season. This means more severe storms winter and summer.
Speaking of snow…
I’ve seen a few snowmachines bombing around on fields. As I’m not really big on winter, I don’t get too jealous. Yes, it looks fun, but… then you get cold and the fun stops.
Still, I understand that there is a lot of fun to be had on snowmachines. What I don’t understand, though, are the ones who go bomb ing around ion school yards and on local streets.
No doubt, many of these riders are teenagers — those who don’t have their drivers license and/or a vehicle to give them the freedom to take their machines to a better location.
Its not that I begrudge them their fun. I just worry about the increased hazards of encountering people out walking, the kids out playing, and the traffic they might encounter.
And here’s my age showing — I also remember when snowmachines didn’t make as much noise as they seem to do now. WOW!
And speaking of getting around, I was lucky to get my snow tires installed when I did. Unfortunately, it wasn't before the storm.
I called my usual tire shop the first day, and was told they could get me in the following Monday. Fortunately, I was able to get the work done at school, where four very fine Auto Shop students got the job done --- but not until Thursday.
But at least I have them on.
If you haven't tried snow tires, you should.
I've heard people say, "I have All-Seasons. They work just fine."
Once you try real snow tires, you'll never think All-Seasons are "fine" again.
One of the biggest problems we have right now is that we got over a month’s worth of snow in just a few days. Snowbanks are encroaching on the roadways, and parking lots have mountains of snow piled on them.
The winter activities we might be enjoying — skiing, snowmobiling — aren’t really ready yet, with the snow having come so soon and in such amounts. There is a lot of grooming and prep work to get done before we can go out and truly enjoy winter.
But… it does come every year. And even though we should expect it — perhaps not quite so soon — it always seems to surprise us.
We complain. A lot. Pointlessly.
Winter won’t go away just because we complain.
And hey, I complain too. Pointlessly.
But eventually we adjust and, while some might still grumble a little (or a lot), we adapt.
We go out and enjoy it when we can. We stay inside and keep warm at other times.
I hear people say “We live in the north.” This is true, to a point.
There really is much more of Ontario that is further north of here than lies below us. In fact, most of Canada is further north than we are.
But our location here hard by the shore of two of the Great Lakes means we get a lot of snow. An awful lot.
So, the best we can do is adapt.
But… that’s just my opinion.