Sunday, February 10, 2013


Well, everybody, we lived through another kyag. And while you may have kissed your ass goodbye at the repeated urgings of the Weather Network, my ass is still here and only slightly winded.

My Weathereye app first flashed red on Tuesday. The white lightning bolt on red used to mean a warning had been issued; now, like as not, it's a warning that some Weather Network minion has penned a story he or she thinks everybody should read. It might not have anything to do with my area at all.
In this case, it did...sort of. An Alberta clipper was forecast to float by on Thursday into Friday. Now, clippers are rarely such of a much, as the link notes. The real problem for us folks living in the Great Lakes tends to be the aftermath, when colder temperatures bring snowsqualls.

Forecasted accumulations varied wildly between 10 and 40 cm (roughly 4 and 16"). Such variance is typical for this area: the Great Lakes are among the most difficult regions on the planet to forecast accurately. A little quiver in the jet stream can radically change the weather overhead. Basically, I went to bed Thursday night knowing some snow was coming, not how much would fall. Nobody else seemed to know with any certainty, either, but that didn't stop the warnings.

SNOWFALL WARNING. Can anything be more comical, in Canada, in February?

I woke up Friday morning to...okay, that's a reasonable amount of snow. Nothing to get excited about, to be certain, but shovelling's required. That's more than I could say for all of last winter, so I guess it's worthy of notice.
The blade of my shovel, a Canadian Tire ergonomic jobby that has performed adequately for years, separated from the shaft about three strokes into my first go-round on the driveway. This meant I had to push the thing with my capacious gut and then hold the two parts together with every lift. Tedious. Very tedious.
(Or I could have remembered the necessary after the last time this happened, three or four years ago, and ran some scalding water through the shovel  melting the snow that had somehow invaded the innards. But no, better to curse the 'broken' shovel: it imparts needed energy.)

I shovelled three times Friday morning before I left for work, mindful once again of my stepfather's long ago lesson that it's better to shovel four inches three times than a foot once. Each time, I had to hold my 'broken' shovel together with each stroke. Le sigh.

680 News out of Toronto had basically abandoned the news in favour of a thirty minute weather and traffic loop. A hundred and sixty five crashes since midnight, we were informed. (So grateful they have finally dropped the word 'accident' from the lexicon. Most collisions aren't accidental at all: they're the inevitable consequence of too much speed and too little control of your vehicle. You can scoff all you want at the fact I don't drive. It doesn't change basic physics. Ice is slippery. Whodathunkit?)

The walk to work was not pleasant. Not that I had expected it to be. Visibility was down to less than twenty meters as swirling snow-demons capered all around me. But I made it to work, unlike quite a few people at quite a few jobs on Friday.
The teachers had an excuse: they'd (predictably) closed the schools. They almost never did this when I was growing up--I can count the snow days of my scholastic career on the fingers of one hand--but they do it at the drop of a flake nowadays and I can't figure out why. It might have something to do with the fact that children are seemingly not allowed to walk to school any more, but whatever.

There was no excuse, as far as I could see, for other people failing to show for work. But absenteeism was epidemic at every job I surveyed on Friday. Doubtless some of this was due to parents being unable to find child care on short notice--I can't be the only one that reacts with incredulity when they shut the schools down because it's freakin' snowing. Other people probably believed the hype and thought if they went outside on Friday they might die.

All in all, we got 40 cms, which is the first time I can remember us coming out on the upper end of a forecasted snow depth in years. It's a lot of snow to fall at once, but it's nothing to get worked up about. Now, New England...many places got a meter of snow. That's  a snowstorm. Maybe even a kyag...


Anonymous said...

"There was no excuse, as far as I could see, for other people failing to show for work"

Dude, on some roads the snow was so deep it was lifting cars off of the road by their undercarriage. Snow tires or not.

I stayed home. Dying for my job is not in my plans.

Ken Breadner said...

Really? Wow. Wife had no problem in an '03 Echo, sans snow tires. Mind you, her commute isn't like yours. From what I heard, the further east you went, the worse it got...