Category Archives: Weather

The Gallery – Yellow

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I am cheating with this weeks Gallery post and using a photo from last Spring as it is definitely not spring here in Canada.  In fact as I type this it’s snowing again as the leading edge of another winter storm has just arrived which will bring us another 6 inches or so of snow before it clears out tonight.  We have had a few days gorgeous days lately above zero but mother nature is not finished with winter yet.

 

So I’m sharing this pic of my sunny yellow daffodils to remind myself that it really can’t be winter forever, spring will arrive eventually.

 

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Cold – What’s the story?

This was my Silent Sunday yesterday, It’s a pier a few miles from where I live.

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I wonder how long it will take for over a foot of solid ice to melt?

 

I decided to check it out after chatting with a couple I met down at the lake a few weeks ago, we were competing for the ideal location to photograph the ice when the man asked me if I ever went to take photos at the pier. I hadn’t been there before so on Monday morning with camera in hand glove I set out for a wander.

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I couldn’t get that close to the pier because, as well as the -18C wind-chill, the whole place was a sheet of ice.  It was blowing a hooly and keeping upright was a challenge especially for someone as clumsy as me.

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It will be a while before anyone can sit on this bench!

I have no idea if this kind of ice build up is normal or if it’s the result of the exceptionally cold winter we have been having this year.  To put things into perspective we have had 84 consecutive days of snow cover and the 14 days forecast doesn’t show any signs of a significant warm up.  The last record of 79 days was set in 1977.  The City of Toronto has declared 31 extreme cold weather alerts so far this winter, which is the most we have had since the current alert system began.

I’ve had enough of the cold now and am getting sick of posting icy photos, the first ones were an incredible 13 weeks ago, Spring cannot come quick enough!

 

The Gallery – Weather

Tara has asked us to share photos of the weather for this weeks Gallery, in particular she asked any of us living abroad to share some sunshine as I know the guys and gals in the UK have been suffering with a lack of sunshine of late.

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So, as requested, I will share with you some of my sunny photos, the only problem is that our gorgeous sunny days come with a teeny, weeny downside… -20C!

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You see here in Canada we don’t get a huge amount of cloudy days even in the winter, the clouds come in drop snow and move off, then the temperature plummets but hey you can’t have everything, right?! ;-D

 

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So this sums up our weather right now, snow, ice and sunshine.

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Of course it doesn’t look that pretty when you’re trying to do the school run while it’s actually falling but we’ll just gloss over that bit!

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Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

My Icy Photos – What’s the Story?

Question – What do you get when you cross 100kph wind, -25C and water?

Answer – A perfect photo opportunity!

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Over the last couple of weeks I have been posting a few icy shots and had several comments asking where they were taken and how cold it was so I thought I would take the opportunity during Charly’s What’s the Story link to explain.

 

The harsh winter that I wrote about the other week continues and temperatures persist well below seasonal norms.  This has been accompanied by extremely strong winds, at times gusting above 100kph and causing the already freezing temperatures to feel much, much colder.  As the waves crash on the lakeshore they freeze instantly on the plants and trees lining the lake creating scenes like this:

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Also the frigid winds, often below -25C, blowing across the relatively warm water of Lake Ontario creates this beautiful affect that makes the water look like it’s steaming.

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I took these photos about a week ago when, in my wisdom (!), I decided to stop off at a local park to take a brief walk before returning home after a quick trip out to get Youngest Son’s birthday present.  The wind chill was about -28 and despite being dressed in snow boots to my calves and a down coat to my knees, gloves and a scarf I could only bare it for a few minutes.  Soon after leaving the car my knees, through my jeans, began to tingle and I had to wrap my scarf around my face as a barrier from the wind.  I lasted about 10 minutes before retreating to the warmth of the truck.  This is the reality of this winter in Canada, time outside is brief whilst being bundled up in multiple layers with every square inch of flesh covered.

So while this extreme winter continues I shall continue to photograph it and document it and next time you see an icy shot from me spare a thought for the physical pain I went through to take it and please send some warm vibes this way, it will be much appreciated! 😀

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Post Comment Love

A Real Canadian Winter

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It turns out that our first two winters in Canada were just mother nature lulling us into a false sense of security.  Our first winter here 2011/2012 was nicknamed “the winter that never was” and was one of the mildest on record.  Sure, it felt cold to us, but the temperatures didn’t stay below freezing for long before it popped back up above zero.  We have an obligation to keep the pavement/sidewalk outside the house clear of snow and as I recall we did it 3 times that winter.

 

Only a little ice January 3rd 2012

Only a little ice January 3rd 2012

Winter 2012/2013 was a similar story; we didn’t have any significant snow fall until December 26th (coincidentally, exactly the same day as the previous year).  January was a rollercoaster of cold and relatively mild.  February, on the other hand was very snowy.  ‘Snowmaggedon’ hit midway through the month when it did not stop snowing for over 24 hours and dumped almost two feet of snow and was followed by -20C wind chills. We saw the edge of Lake Ontario frozen for the first time that month.

 

The edge of the lake starting to freeze January 26th 2013

The edge of the lake starting to freeze January 26th 2013

Fast forward to the present day and the winter of 2013/2014.

As of today, January 7th. The City of Toronto has issued 7 extreme cold alerts (periods when the temperature doesn’t rise above -15C), the entire winter last year between December and April only saw 9 alerts in total.  This week alone has seen an ‘arctic vortex’ bringing windchills in the -40C….We are only 3 weeks into winter.  I have shoveled the driveway around 8 times already and there is a Province wide shortage of salt due to the Ice Storm before Christmas.  The edge of the lake was already frozen in December.

The edge of the lake, already frozen December 15th 2013

December 15th 2013

This winter is turning out to be nothing short of brutal. I have bottles of water in my car that have been frozen solid since November.  My lawn has been under a foot of snow for the last 6 weeks.  The sack of potatoes I had in my garage froze solid and had to be thrown away.  The windchills we have experienced in the last few days can cause frostbite to exposed skin in just 5 minutes.  At these temperatures (-25C) if you boil a kettle of water and throw it into the air it will freeze before it reaches the ground!  Snow boots, a down coat, hats and gloves are every day attire, you do not leave the house without them.

Toronto is one of the southern most points of Canada and that, along with it’s proximity to Lake Ontario, means our temperatures are relatively mild compared to the rest of the country but less than a month into the winter of 2013/2014, it is already proving to be quite a challenge to us newbie expats.

 

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Post Comment Love

Ice Storm 2013

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Saturday December 21st 2013

The weather forecasters have been reporting an incoming ‘Texas low” for a few days now.  Apparently it’s a huge system but its impact is largely unknown due to the fact that the temperature will be hovering around zero.  Below zero will mean snow, above zero means rain but at zero the storm could produce freezing rain and ice.  As the forecasters are often very dramatic in their presentation of the weather, I don’t stress about it but make a mental note of where the torches and batteries are and charge up my gadgets as we head out for dinner at a friends house.

10pm.

We leave our friends after a lovely Christmas dinner and giggle as we slip and slide down the road.  It is clear the feared ice storm has arrived, the roads are slick and the car is covered in a layer of ice but we scrape it off and slowly drive home.

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Sunday December 22nd

1am

The electricity goes out, it flashes on and off for a while before it goes out for good

3.30am

Cracking and crashing sounds rouse me from sleep.  I am immediately aware that something unusual is happening and my heart begins to thump in panic.  The house is cold and quiet and the lack of street lights alerts me to the fact that the power is still out.  I go to the window and the scene that greets me is shocking.  The beautiful 80-foot Elm trees at the bottom of the garden are literally crumbling under the weight of the ice that covers them, huge branches crack and crash to the ground. Lightning flashes across the sky and at lower levels intense blue flashes indicate trees taking out power lines across the neighbourhood.  I watch the trees sway precariously in the breeze and start to question whether buying a house so close to huge trees was wise.  I can’t possibly sleep so I spend the next hour or so in a sleep deprived state wondering whether the trees will come crashing through the roof or not.

5am

The utility companies must be trying to reconnect the power it comes on momentarily as another intense blue light flashes across the sky and we are plunged into darkness again.  I finally drift off to sleep.

7.30 am

It’s finally light enough outside to begin to assess the impact of the storm.  The back garden is littered with branches which continue to fall from the trees, the power is still out and everything is covered in ice.  We light the log fire, find the battery radio and get our camping stove out to make tea.

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10am

From the reports on the radio it is clear a huge area and some 500,000 people across the province are without power.  Hubbie decides to venture out in search of a generator.  It takes over 30 minutes to chip the ice of his truck enough so that he can open the door.  My car, that was parked up to the garage doors, has slid on the ice back down the driveway.

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1pm

Dejected, Hubbie returns home, there was no chance of securing an alternative power source.

5pm

We join Hubbies family for an unconventional Christmas dinner by candlelight, beef cooked on a barbecue and mash and veg cooked on a gas hob. It was delicious which is amazing considering the circumstances that it was cooked in!

9pm

We return to a cold, dark home and decide to camp out in the family room to be near the fire.  The temperature is going to be -12 overnight, we’re in for a chilly one!

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Monday  December 23rd

6am

I get up with Hubbie to make him tea before he goes off to work, we stoke up the fire to try to put some heat into the frigid house.  After he leaves I climb back into my makeshift bed on the sofa to await daylight.

 

8am

Despite no electricity we still have plenty of hot water so I decide to have a hot shower to warm myself up.  In hindsight it was not the best idea.  Getting out of a hot shower into a freezing cold bathroom makes me colder than I was in the first place.  What I wouldn’t do for an opportunity to wash my hair and a hairdryer…

10am

My instinctive response in a crisis is to keep busy so the boys and I keep ourselves occupied by getting the wood in to keep the fire stocked and then we venture outside to start clearing the ice. With nothing but sub zero temperatures and snow in the forecast it’s important that we try to clear as much of the ice as possible.  Several months of snow on top of ice will make for treacherous conditions every time we step foot outside the front door plus the fact that we have an obligation to keep the pavement/sidewalk outside the house clear means we have little option but to get to work.  The entire house, drive, car is covered in an inch of ice, It’s hard backbreaking work first smashing the ice and then shoveling it up but it certainly warms us up!  The neighbours are out too so we cheer ourselves up reflecting on the situation and exchanging stories.  It turns out weather situations like this are, thankfully, extremely rare.

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2pm

I’m in the garage getting the last of the wood in when I hear a joyous yell from inside, the power is back, 36 freezing cold dark hours are finally at an end! 😀

We lose power intermittently over the next few days as the province struggles to get back to normal.  As we venture out of the house the predominant feature is the fallen trees and branches, which litter the roads and pathways.  Only the arrival of spring in 3-4 moths will tell us how much damage has been caused by something as simple and destructive as ice.

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