On the strength of 71 years of experience, I have concluded that there is no such thing as normal weather. The figures we are given as “normals for the period” are just averages of many years of abnormal weather.
There was the Medieval Warm Period 1,000 years ago when Lief Erickson and his men landed in Newfoundland and found grapes growing. The remains of their settlement have been found, but it’s too cold for grapes to grow there anymore.
Geologists also speak of a “little ice age” extending from the 16th to the 19th centuries, with longer winters causing crop failures, poor fish catches and other hardships.
In recent years we have been bombarded with news of impending doom caused by man-made global warming. The panic created in certain sectors of the population appears to be financially and politically profitable for the doom-sayers.
Fairly accurate weather records are available for about the past 100 years. Anything before that consists of estimates drawn from whatever evidence is available. Environment Canada now tells us that they have no way of knowing if our snowfall this winter is a record. They used to measure snowfall on the ground with a ruler, taking the average of several measurement sites at a given location. They decided a couple of years ago that this was too inaccurate and abandoned it. Now they measure the moisture content of a snowfall with a rain gauge, but admit the amount of snow collected is affected by the wind. In other words, there is no accurate means of measuring snowfall, never has been.
In the 1930’s, the weather here on the prairies varied from intense heat in the summer to at least one unusually cold winter. I wasn’t around then, but I do remember the winter of 1947-48. My mother used to have a photo of me standing on top of a snow drift in our farm driveway, between the trees, that was at least 15 feet deep. A passenger train got trapped near Mossbank for several days that winter during a blizzard; folks from town carried food to the passengers.
I remember highs up to 105° Fahrenheit (40.5° Celsius) and lows down to -50° Fahrenheit (-45.5° Celsius) during the 1950’s. I walked a half mile to school several mornings in -50° temperatures. The 1990’s tended to be warmer than usual, peaking in 1998, but since then the weather has been cooling again.
It is now officially spring by the calendar. The “normal” temperatures (long term averages) for this time of year are a low of -7° Celsius and a high of +3° Celsius. Tuesday morning it was -27°.
Yesterday a blizzard blew up. Our two oldest grandchildren had dental appointments in Saskatoon. Our daughter left the two youngest children with us, picked up the older two from school and headed for the city. She hadn’t gone very far when she came to a spot on the highway where she could barely get through the snowdrifts. Once through, there was no place close to turn around and go back so she kept going. She chose a different route to come home and made it to within ten miles, where three semis were stuck on the highway. She pulled into the yard of another family from our congregation and Ken came with his four wheel drive pickup and brought her home, picking up the two youngest on the way.
It is still blowing this morning. Our driveway is impassible, the half mile of gravel road to the highway is impassible, the highway is impassible. The Department of Highways called Ken for help in opening up the highway (Ken is an excavation contractor). The first drift they came to was four feet deep.
This is spring! In a time of “global warming”! Is God laughing?