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Snow Days

By John D. Reid

Snow Days

Feb 14, 2021 - By John D. Reid

The sun is rising earlier, setting later and rising higher in the sky. Climate records tell that we are past the coldest days of the winter. 14 February is the day when the snow on the ground is, on average, at its deepest, 31 cm.  The snowpack diminishes only slowly until the third week of March.

Weather does not adhere to climate averages. Take the period after the hanging of Patrick Whalen for the assassination of Thomas D’Arcy McGee on 11 February 1869.  It attracted an estimated quarter of the population who had to return home in a snowstorm.

It continued. There was terrible snow in the days and weeks following. There are no official weather records for the period, but reports are it hardly stopped snowing until St Patrick’s Day. The snow accumulated to an estimated depth of seven feet. Roads were not plowed – the snow was compacted and built up to two feet thick on downtown streets. The railway to Prescott saw drifts to 20 feet and the government called out the militia.

At the site of the Hunt Club golf course William Upton’s farm was buried. His diary records cows being stuck in snow drifts, some had to be left protected with blankets overnight. Next morning, they dug a trench so the cattle could get back to the barn. Rain came on 19 April, and then the floods. By the 22nd newspaper reports were that no trains could get in or out of the city owing to a flooded roadbed.

Let’s hope we avoid a repeat—the pandemic is enough to deal with thank you!

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