front walkway dec 2013

It’s been a hard winter so far. Lots of snow and really cold temps. Just got back to more reasonable temperatures. The climatologists say that things are so changeable (and difficult to predict), what with -30C temperatures just a few days ago. Checked the hi’s and lo’s on the weather app and surprisingly in 1977 the low was -38C. Guess things aren’t changing climate wise as much as we thought. Funny thing was I lived here at that time and don’t remember that cold winter.

One thing I know, we are back to a time when a snowblower is a necessity. Have used mine several times already. Trouble is these devices weigh a ton (and of course the gas in the tank starts to deteriorate while it sits waiting to be used again).  Great business opportunity for somebody to create a snow remover that doesn’t weigh so much and runs without having to act like a mechanic, adjusting the choke or putting in those magical additives to the gasoline. Those who use these things (not sure what young people do these days – leave the snow and just drive over it?), they now tend to be older – those wealthy boomers – and don’t have the strength to move these monsters around. Mine must weight 200 lbs. C’mon all you unemployed Nortel and RIM engineers! Anyway, cleared the driveway twice today and guess what? They are forecasting 10-15cm more snow tonight…and freezing rain. The scourge of Canada’s urban scene has to be freezing rain. Snow is hard to take, but a coating of ice on everything is just too much – the icing on the cake. It’s coming tonight they say. When we were young we yearned for freezing rain so that schools would be cancelled and we could then get our skates out and play hockey on the streets. Never mind that for the rest of us, it was and continues to be a curse. Last time we had a long-term freezing rain session (like what they are now forecasting) it coated everything, cars – try opening doors when heavy ice gets on it; the trees – the heavy ice brought down many limbs; streets – it kept people from walking anywhere and many were out of power for several days. Those in rural areas really suffered. Could we be repeating the great ice storm of 1998?

Just a thought. I remember – must be 40 years ago now – living a in rural area close to London when it snowed the entire day and then coated everything with freezing rain. My neighbor called and pleaded for us to go next door – 200 feet away – to shut off their oven which was set on automatically (but not off). They couldn’t get home. I put on the heavy coat and boots, and my mother and I went out together to the neighbour’s house. The snow and freezing rain was driving so hard that we couldn’t see. We held hands and slowly ventured toward the house which from time to time we could see in the distance. Just when you thought you were on the right course, the wind would blow, the snow and rain slammed into your face and then you lost track of where you were.  The winds blew hard and drifts formed wherever there was an object to stop the blowing snow. Those drifts could be five high and you wouldn’t notice them until you had walked right into them. After what seemed like an eternity we got to the neighbour’s house and had to break a window to get in. Shut off the oven and then ventured out into the wild again. Some how we made it home. When I think of it we could have been much worse off – we could have been lost out there, as the storm lasted several hours and became even worse.

It was an unforgettable experience that still makes me leary about living in the rural areas, particularly when winter storms hit.