The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

January 18, 2008




Bundle up, Baby, Because you're in for a Big Boot in the Bottom. Don't worry, though.

You won't be able to feel it anyway -- or anything else -- if you live in Canada's unforgiving Prairie. As this following Environment Canada weather forecast makes abundantly clear...

Extreme wind chill warning issued
Updated at 5:21 PM (Friday, Jan. 18)
Environment Canada has issued an extreme wind chill warning for the second time in two days for Winnipeg.
Temperatures tonight are expected to drop to a low of -35 C, but the extreme wind chill will make it feel like -44 C.

The deep freeze is expected to continue tomorrow with the morning temperature predicted to be -45 C with the wind chill and the thermometer only expected to rise during the day to a high of -25 C.

Temperatures are expected to drop again on Saturday night to a low of -35 C, which with the wind chill will feel like -43 C. Normal temperatures at this time of year are a high of -13 C and a low of -23 C.


Now on to some form of explanation, from a Weather Almanac website I found.

"Upon retiring for the night, I tried to blow out the candle," a Winnipeg, Manitoba settler wrote in his diary one cold winter night in 1879, "But the flame was frozen, so I had to break it off."

Although the settler spun the cold truth a little loosely, the depth of January cold is infamous across North America. That is not to say that North America has a monopoly on cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere.

The very name Siberia conjures images of frigid cold, ice, snow and blizzard winds.

But North America is unique among the arctic continents because the major mountain chains run north-south rather than east-west as in Europe (the Alps) and Asia (the Himalayas).

This makes nearly all of North America susceptible to vigorous cold fronts.

Without the mountain barriers to block them, Arctic cold outbreaks can sweep southward toward the subtropical Gulf of Mexico, even crossing its waters on occasion.

The birthplaces for most of these frigid outbreaks are the continental expanses or northern Canada near or within the Arctic Circle (Eds note: Translation here is directly north of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta).

Here, long, dark winter nights couple with clear skies and a surface covered with snow and ice progressively chill the air.

Since in these regions the sun does not rise or only skirts the horizon for much of January, there is no warming heat from the sun. And snow and ice on the surface reflect away what little sun weakly beams down.

To compound the lack of incoming heat, snow very effectively radiates away what little heat it has, thus dropping surface air temperatures still further until it reaches the temperature of the high atmosphere.

As the air cools, it becomes denser, forming large domes of high pressure.

Eventually, this cold dome breaks its bond with the spawning ground and rushes wildly southward (Eds note: BRRRR-RIGHT TOWARDS US!). Howling winds precede the great dome, announcing its advent to all life.

(See it? That big band of no clouds? That's us, right now!)

Trees shudder. Birds shiver. Rabbits burrow deep within snow banks. (Eds note: human bloggers inhabiting these regions retreat into their homes if they can and whine, whine, whine to the rest of the planet).

THIS is what I'm waitin' for...the 30C heat, the wide blue skies, the mosquitoes.
I want it. Now.


  1. Coldest night of the frickin' year and I drove off with the block heater cord still plugged in ((SNAP))


    So I Macgyvered a new plug and hope that it didn't disconnect at the base...damnit anyway!

    OK go ahead and laugh now

  2. HE:

    Well, buddy o' mine, I would normally laugh heartily (OK, I admit I'm snickering slightly).

    But I've done that before myself and I've also had some punk who I'd kill if I found him cut the cord clean off.

    If you went outside in -295C and actually replaced your own block heater cord plug, I admire you and would never tease you.

    I do remember that day you more or less took charge in the middle of winter and got my power steering belt back on in the wilds of Manitoba.

    Some things are never forgotten.

    But I do agree, this is the coldest night of the frickin' year. Let's all be warm and toasty, some through different means than others.

  3. This is just craziness; Winnipeg such a sweet innocent sounding name for a little city and it is actually freezing over.

    I honestly don't know how people and animals and plants survive.

    We have had 35mm of rain here the last two days, which is beautiful but it's still shorts/t shirt weather.

    The Mountains must be shifted, there is no question about it. Who can move mountains?


  4. "Temperatures tonight are expected to drop to a low of -35 C, but the extreme wind chill will make it feel like -44 C."

    Tremendously spoiled individual that I am, I need to know: what *is* the difference between -35 and -44?


  5. PS What's a block heater cord?

    (Running away, far away, so you can't catch me and beat me, but not too far because it's going to drop to the lowest temp we've exeprienced yet this year and I want to be home to crawl into bed...)

    BTW that's -6C.

    OK, I'm gone...................

  6. Does that mean huge heating bills ? Do builings have special isolation ? How to build in this climate ? How to stay warm ? do you work at home then, what about school, do people go to work/school, is transport possible ... that's what I think when I read -35°C. I would need a special survival course first.

  7. I heard about it on the news tonight. I was ironing and heard "Winnipeg" and "-45" and immediately thought of you freezing that poor little tushie off.

    I hope you manage to stay warm.

  8. Sienna - Muhammad!

    WW - You seriously need to move. Maybe to Antarctica? Might be a tad warmer.

  9. Pam:

    Yes, hell IS freezing over.

    The trees, of course, are hardy things that go into dormancy. Nature really is amazing.

    When you think about the perennial plants that die off every autumn and then come back every spring so beautiful and fine...

    And you wonder how something so outwardly gentle and fragile could do that year after year.

    It was actually better today, because the wind wasn't so strong. But still brutal.

    I'll phone up God and see if he (she, it) can meet with me to move those mountains.


    The difference is, maybe, an appendage not dropping off or dropping off.

    Either way, those temps are crazy, but it's the windchill that will kill you first.

    The wind will kill your battery and do a lot of ugly things that straight, calm cold won't.

    Cold temps without wind are just cold temps. When that cold is whipped into your face in ugly gusts, it goes right through you to your bones and out the other side.

    Bad comparison, maybe, but think of walking in the Pacific in that cold water and how brutal it can be.

    Now think of trying to do the same thing with that cold water whipped into a frenzy of 10-foot waves.

    What's a block heater cord? Oh, Andrea, I WILL chase you (but better not into your bed).

    Even the engine on your vehicle should have a block heater, a heater that warms your engine block.

    To make the block heater work, you have to plug it in. It's just like plugging in a floor heater.

    Plug it in, it warms up...and, in Winterpeg anyway, is supposed to prevent your engine from getting so cold that it can't start.


    My electricity bill, which would include heating, is $121 a month averaged over a 12-month period.

    So for cold months like this, it's more likely closer to $200 a month Canadian.

    Buildings in cold climates do use special insulation and most often fibre batts are used, along with other forms.

    Construction crews DO build in this climate, believe it or not, even right now.

    It's very seldom that schools close or people don't go to work merely because of cold.

    More often those things happen when a big blizzard happens that makes travel very unsafe or impossible.

    You might not need a survival course, but you certainly would be shocked and you would need time to get used to it, although some would say you NEVER get used to it.


    Ironing? I haven't done that in...well, I can't remember. My little tushie fell off, actually.

    In fact, I'm not sure how I'm even sitting down at my computer right now.


    Antarctica! Well what's the point? I might as well just take a right turn at Albuquerque and move to Oz!

  10. Sooooo, I take it ya dont camp out in a tent in ya garden during this cold spell? :)

    Ive often wondered how buildings and homes can withstand such cold temps, you all must have just the bestest insulation and heaters and huge log fires...... me, well, I would just find a good bloke and snuggle under the duvet with him, ya know, only to keep each other warm, survival mode like, and just wait out the winter months........ :)

    oh, nice blob by the way.... found ya via Sienna via PT via mine...


  11. Marmitetoasty:

    Ha Ha Ha! Gardens? Under four feet of snow?

    Some crazies do camp out in this stuff, actually -- or go cross-country skiing in the buff, as me and some friends did once many moons ago.

    I like your idea of surviving under the duvet, though, "only to keep each other warm."

    When are you visiting, then?

    Thanks for stopping by. I've had a quick stop at your "blob", it's a hoot, and I'll be back.

  12. So...having to put a wide-mouth shovel in my car and drive around to the new neighbours' place to shovel the mud off the drain is probably something I shouldn't whinge about?
    I must go now or it will be too HOT (29deg.C) to shovel stuff...runs away, very fast...

  13. Extreme Living = Britney Spear's life


  14. Dinahmow:

    Oh no, be my guest!!! It just makes me long for the Great Southern Land all the more!

    (But I'll just have to settle for a return to our normal -13C for a daytime high and -23 overnight).


    Yeah, she's kinda cold as ice herself ain't she?

  15. Ok, you can come on over. It's hot here. Just like you wanted. We've got the mosquitoes too!

  16. Menchie:

    YAY! What's for supper? Barbecued mosquitoes, maybe? I'd love to visit the Phillippines...

  17. dude, everytime i read one of your weather posts i cannot get over the extreme differences between your winter and summer!
    i mean, in south africa, apart from rain, there's a relatively small difference between summer and winter. you can still swim in the sea on the east coast in june, and our winters are mild enough to wear t-shirts even if you need a jersey in the morning!
    and snow is still front page news unless its in the drakensberg...

  18. Angel:

    I'm happy to report that it has warmed up considerably, to almost normal temps: about -15C or so.

    I understand your shock and inability to understand the extremes in our temps by season.

    A lot of us say that we actually like the change of the seasons and the extremes, but then of course we might as well, because we don't have any choice in the matter.

    For sure, in our part of the world, cold is definitely cold and hot is definitely hot.

    I don't think I'd be complaining too much if I lived in a more temperate climate, though.



If you choose to use anonymous to comment, it is only fair that I reserve the right to obliterate your comment from my blog.