Happy New Year!
January is the time of year when I am reminded that we live on a rock that protrudes farther into the Atlantic Ocean than can be reasonably justified.
And I am also reminded that our forefathers had a stellar amount of tenacity. And possibly cleated feet.
The ice! My sweet lord, it is everywhere! It's a job to get from the house to the car without slipping. I am not sure if I should be wearing boots or skates. Brutal.
Precipitation is the name of the game in St. John's.
In fact, we are the Canadian city that gets the most precipitation. Environment Canada reports an average of over 1500 mm a year, with 215 days of the year qualifying as 'wet days'. (I don't think 'wet days' includes foggy days, so I am guessing that leaves us with 140 days of fog and 1 day of sunshine...a conversation for another day!)
Annually, it appears St. John's gets an average of 1188 mm of rain and 322 cm of snow. (I remember a year with 650 cm of snow; anyone who lived here then remembers that one!)
The long and the short of all the stats is: we get a whack of rain and snow.
What the stats don't reveal, is that we can get both rain and snow on the same day, in the same hour, and even in the same moment. And we can have snowfall turn to rain, followed by a drop in temperature that sees the entirety of it freeze. Or any combination thereof.
And that is what is going on this year in spades- lots of combinations! Snow, rain, freeze, rain, snow, freeze...
We had lots of gorgeous snow during December; Christmas saw beautiful scenes filled with fluffy snow. Just like a Christmas card. Made us all fuzzy inside, and saw us wanting to do some fluff-'n-stuff-frolicking followed up with hot-chocolate-sipping by the fireplace. Sigh.
And then it rained. And then it froze. And then it snowed again. And then it rained. And then it froze. Again and again and again.
What remains now is an ice rink engulfing the entire city, save a few splotches here and there with a generous pot hole poking through.
This, in a city which doesn't clear its sidewalks. A city where people routinely walk in the streets, in traffic, because of the fact that the sidewalks are not cleared. In a good year, this is a challenge. This year with the layer of ice lasting as long as it has, without much of a break, it is an even bigger challenge!
At the end of the day, I guess it is not too far off situation normal; we've seen it before, we'll see it again. But it does cause me to pause, from time to time, and wonder- what kind of crazy people would have settled here back in the day? And then I look in the mirror.
All I can say is, bring on the snow!
Honk If You Want Me Off The Road is a documentary about the struggles of walkers in the city of St. John's. It is about 20 minutes long and is directed by Elizabeth Yeoman and Sharon Roseman.
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