Monday, December 22, 2008

The Great White North

This moniker has long been fun for us, especially when the McKenzie brothers were performing their act.

But Yahoo says we deserve it now and for the first time in ages!

Winter debuted Sunday with boisterous displays of heavy snow, powerful winds and numbing cold across the country. Forecasters are predicting Christmas will look much the same.

"I would dare say if you're in a satellite looking down on Canada, it would be white from coast to coast to coast and it would be frozen," said David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada.

"There's no area that can say that winter hasn't really arrived."

Red warning labels stretched right across the government agency's weather map, showing snowfall warnings and arctic outflow in B.C. and flesh-freezing windchill warnings for the Prairies and northern Ontario.

There was more blustering snow through southern Ontario, and a series of winter storm warnings for Quebec and the Maritimes.

"Whatever we're under - this winter wave, this pre-winter hit - is not going to go away," Phillips said.

"We're going to see the vestiges of this cold and snow perhaps maybe until the end of the year.

Doc has already described some of the implications of this sort of weather.

I particularly appreciated this observation:

Overall, it was an intriguing exercise in information search: how much information can I find about the road conditions, and how reliable will the information be? What if the road conditions turned out to be worse than I expected based on the information I had gathered?

The weekend before last, I was in London contemplating the drive home, and it was stunning how useful the radar picture on the Weather Channel was. London itself was in the middle of a major snowstorm, but the radar showed that once I got to the main freeway from London to Toronto, I would be out of the snow quickly, descend into it for a short spell near Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, and then have clear sailing home. And it was exactly so!

(There are some major perversities concerning the placement of Lake Huron and the prevailing winds in Ontario that affect the geographical distribution of perfectly awful winter weather.)

I am a big fan of technology not just for the income it has brought me as an employee.

As for me, I am hoping to spend some time with parts of the family over the holidays to come, but as I have aged I have become less willing to run the risks of driving in winter weather. Especially as I use all-season radials, perhaps the topic of another post to come (not quite the Baptists and the Bootleggers but close).


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