snow update

As of yesterday, the Environment Canada data website indicates that we’ve had 373.7 cm (147.12 inches, or, if you prefer, 12.26 feet) of snowfall in Ottawa this winter. As of yesterday, the site shows 56 cm. (22.04 inches) of snow on the ground. I don’t know where they’re measuring that, but it is *a lot* deeper around our farm at the moment.

We had some major snow loss between January 4 and 13th when the snow-on-the-ground level went from an official 66 cm (25.98 inches) down to 4 cm (1.57 inches) as temperatures soared to a searing 10 C (50 F) for about 3 days. Needless to say, any loss was rapidly replaced during February – just in time for the Winterlude carnival which takes place in the city over several weekends in February. Earlier this week, we had another couple of warm days which knocked the snow back again. However, it is quickly being replaced today.

I’ve watched the snow accumulation come and go here at the farm – measured by how high the snow level registers on the two green plastic adirondack chairs in the fire garden which can be seen out the window from our bed. In December and early January, we lost sight of the chairs for a bit, then in mid-January, the snow melted down to below seat level, but now they are completely covered over again. As illustrated by the account of the meltdown in early January, things could change drastically in the space of a few days once the temperature begins to rise, but for now, there’s more snow in the forecast for this weekend. In fact, I just came in from shoveling snow for about an hour.

Last night, I shot a little movie clip of Sabrina patrolling the garden. She’s walking on one of her network of trails in the garden, but if she steps off into the undisturbed snow to either side, she sinks down and has to struggle to crawl back to safety. Yesterday, I tried to walk around the side of the house to put suet in one of the bird feeders and had to turn back after plunging around in waist-deep snow. The only way to get around the yard is on snowshoes.

In other news, Don and I drove to Narrows Locks to check on the Trumpeter Swans twice over the past week, but failed to find even one. However, we did stop to watch llamas and donkeys munching on hay at a farm along the way. I expect they’re as anxious as us to see the snow melt away to reveal the green pastures lying in wait beneath.


18 Responses to “snow update”

  1. Peter Says:

    I reported in the last post I that I saw a thaw coming. How wrong I was. It deffinitly is a mess here in Ottawa and the rest of Ontario. I’ve had enough, but the notice of spring birds arriving has given me hope :-)

    I enjoyed the Sabrina video.

  2. Wayne Says:

    Well that was fun. Thanks for the vicarious snow experience, Bev. What are you expecting now, Saturday night at this time?

    I like the idea of the chairs as measuring devices. It’s an Overlook Hotel sort of thing!

    Glenn loved the llama photo.

  3. bev Says:

    Peter – It sure is becoming a mess! Everyone I’ve spoken to is getting very tired of this weather too. Glad you enjoyed the Sabrina video!

    Wayne – Today, as of around 6 p.m., I believe we’d received about 35 cm. of snow. The forecast is for something like 25 more cm. by morning, but I’m beginning to think it will be more.

  4. Wayne Says:

    Oops – this may appear twice.

    Bev – I was just looking at an old post of mine last January when we were commiserating on the lack of snow. Last year you got 122 cm (at the time of that writing).

    Unfortunately, that post only presented 5-year running averages for snowfall. I went back to the data, and averaged for the years 1900-2007: 224 cm (that’s seasonal, not calendar).

    Looks like you had (by far) the most snowfall in 1971 – 441 cm. 1993 (347 cm) is the only year that comes even close.

    That 373 cm places you this year at (at least!) number two over more than a century.

  5. wren Says:

    Around Michigan, this is a near-record year for snow. It can be hard in the midst of shoveling *yet again* to remember that it’s also pretty and much envied by those who don’t see as much as we do. I love your picture of the lights in the snow for its reminder of the beauty it’s easy to overlook.

  6. Dave Says:

    In the Chicago area we dodged that last storm. Frankly, we needed the break. We have nothing on you, but it’s been a pretty snowy winter this year.

    Spring is only 11 days away! :)

  7. bev Says:

    Wayne – We’ve just been discussing how crazy this latest snowfall is compared to recent winters with very little snow. It was fun to revisit your post and check out the charts. These days, it appears that we’re into the territory of “feast or famine”. By the way, I just checked Environment Canada for the figures on yesterday’s (March 8) snowfall and they have it as 33.6 cm. for Ottawa. No doubt, there will be some additional cm. to add to the running total for March 9th as well. However, now the winter total stands at 407.3 cm (160.35 inches, or 13.36 feet). Of that, in March, we’ve had 94.2 cm (37.08 inches), which is quite a bit considering this is the “tail end” of winter. Ho ho! Apparently not so!

    wren – I’ve been following snowfall levels in other parts of the country and it looks like many areas have been hit by the same weather systems that have been passing through here. The snow really is quite beautiful. While shoveling, I stop periodically to rest and look around. With the winds we’ve had today, the snow is being sculpted into fantastic shaped drifts. Later today, I’ll go out with my camera and shoot some photos to post here.

  8. bev Says:

    Dave – You were lucky not to get a piece of this storm as I think it dropped a lot of snow in a fairly short period of time. I’m sure the snow removal crews will be operating in full gear for at least 2 or 3 days to clear the streets in Ottawa. I shoveled our front porch, steps and walks 3 times yesterday and when I went out this morning, there was quite a lot of fresh snow over everything. I”m about 1/3 of the way through my shoveling but had to come in to warm up as the temperature is -12 C (10 F) with a brisk wind. It’s a cold day, but at least the snow seems to have stopped for the moment!

  9. Wayne Says:

    Bev – I just updated the excel file that I created last year and came up with the same numbers: 407.3 cm for the season and 94.2 for March. I’ll send that to you. Quite a snowy season for you!

    I also noticed that it was -12C, probably as you were shoveling away!

  10. bev Says:

    Wayne – Thanks for updating and sending the excel file on Ottawa weather. And yes, it’s been quite cold while I was shoveling. I’m warmed up now and just about ready to return to digging us out!

  11. Vasha Says:

    Here in New York state, we’ve had a lot of snow also, but yesterday it was freezing rain. Everything is glittering this morning, but there’s a lot of tree damage. The white ash tree in my back yard lost a big limb, and farther away I can see a willow that’s snapped right off halfway up.

  12. robin andrea Says:

    That’s quite a bit of snow, isn’t it? I can’t even imagine such a thing. Are there blue skies and plenty of sunshine after it falls? I remember growing up in New Jersey, after the snow there was beautiful blue skies. All I can think is that at least you and Don are getting your vitamin D. While up here in the northwest it’s as bleak as always. The sun may traverse the sky, but I would have no way of knowing.

  13. John Says:

    Lovely photos of the shadows on the snow. Great video of Sabrina, too! I do not envy you even a little to have to cope with that much snow…it’s almost beyond my comprehension!

  14. bev Says:

    Vasha – I’m glad that the freezing rain stayed south of us. The tree branches are already so weighed down with snow that it would have been devastating (shades of the ice storm of ’98). It’s taken a long time for the forests to begin to recover from the damage.

    robin – Yes, we’ve had a lot of snow compared to most years. We’re not far from breaking the record for most snowfall. Indeed, the sun is out now although it’s quite cold and windy this afternoon. I hope we’re getting some vitamin D although I’ve read that we don’t get much from the sun in winter even if we’re out in it for hours. Bring on the springtime!

    John – The snow is lovely to look at, but clearing away this much snow is not too amusing. I’m growing a bit tired of having to deal with it so often.

  15. am Says:

    Entirely lovely clip of Sabrina at night in the snow with the trees and lights and shadows. Stills from it would make a fine painting or linocut or woodcut.

    I’ve spent more time in deserts than in snowy places. A snowy landscape makes me think of deserts.

  16. bev Says:

    am – Thanks! I’ve often thought that the snow looks like some of the places I’ve been in the desert, especially after the wind has sculpted it into dunes.

  17. Mark P Says:

    From down here in the warmer regions your place looks like a different planet. I can hardly imagine it. Our snowfall so far this year has amounted to about a quarter of in inch on the deck. Some of it didn’t melt where it landed on leaves or on spider webs.

  18. Cathy Wilson Says:

    Awwww . . . that’s a really sweet clip of Sabrina out amongst the twinkle lights. We’ve come home from the desert. This winter is dragging its heels.

    I love the way AM saw woodcut possibilities in Sabrina’s outing.

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