“-24 °C-35 °C
Feels like: -32
POP: 10h Snow: 0cm 24h Rain: 0mm
Average High: -11°C
Average Low: -19°C
See Lockport, Manitoba – Monthly CalendarI hate winter. It’s harder to get enough exercise, food, clothing, shelter, and snow piles up. It doesn’t drain away under gravity. Damned hares stand on the snowdrifts as the snow piles up and eat the bark off my fruit trees from the bottom to the top… Arggghhhh!
Then, there’s the cold. When I was younger, another layer under some wind-breaker would do the trick. Now, I can’t keep extremities warm except on certain days of the week… I’ve even tried those iron-rusting or charcoal-burning hand/foot/back warmers. They work but you can’t turn them off and they aren’t $cheap enough nor do they have a long shelf-life. I have a lot of extremities. Then, there are glasses. My previous glasses made of very thick glass used to suck the heat right out of my face. My present glasses are much lighter and plastic. They are clearly better but I still get tunnel vision when I return to the warm/moist interior of my home.
No. I don’t miss the cold winters of earlier decades. Look at the data. The coldest day of this winter is forecast to be -35C near my home. That’s easily 10C warmer than I have experienced. It’s USDA Zone 3b. We used to be in 3a, just north of ND. Soon I will be able to grow trees in my yard (hares notwithstanding) that would have been impossible a decade ago. This could be a flash in the pan but I don’t think so. The difference is too extreme and too long sustained. I remember winters in the 1950s when I was a boy. We played in five foot deep snowdrifts all winter long. Now, deer still can walk around my property. There’s snow but it’s not knee-deep. In the 1960s my city would shut down several times per year with snow/cold/ice-fog… We used to reach -40C for days on end. I can’t remember the last time we had -40C here. Some readers may not think there’s much difference between -35C and -40C but it’s a bunch of apple-trees, plums, grapes and others. If your winter reaches -40C regularly there are a lot fewer choices when it comes to choosing perennial plants. In Winnipeg, a lot of nurseries are stocking Zone 4 plants and they are surviving. TLW has bought some that are doing quite well in my yard north of the city.
In our “temperate” zone, all trees shut down for the winter and store sap/energy in the roots. Hard freezing at greater depths of the soil kills those roots. Cold/wind/sun kill off the buds in the stems and branches that sprout new growth in spring. Natural selection has given us species with sufficient anti-freeze and thick skin to survive cold winters but there are many wonderful species that can survive slightly milder winters. We are there.
I don’t know how much warmer winters will get but I’m loving this change briefly. It will likely benefit me for the rest of my life. I’m worried though that my descendants may have less water and worse summers as time goes on. In the short term winters are improving here. For two winters I only had to clear my driveway of snow a few times rather than weekly. This winter I’ve already had two goes and I could be done. The snowblower is getting harder to start but it’s 26 years old and I suspect the fuel-filter is becoming plugged. It only runs well on a full tank of fuel. I’ve ordered a supply of inline fuel-filters from Amazon… I wish all my “winter” problems were as easily solved. Nature is part way to taking care of the temperature problem.