Tag Archives: snow in Moncton

Who needs a weatherman?


Every year at about this time, I find myself unable to leave the weather app on my smart phone alone. I check it obsessively to determine what fresh hell will descend on southeastern New Brunswick just in time to ruin a planned trip to visit one my kids or, indeed, a largely unplanned getaway to a sunny destination.

For this reason, most winters here along the East Coast of Canada have been misery to me. Ruminating about what’s coming does nothing to ameliorate the dread of. . .well. . .knowing that the universe thinks weather apps, and those who trust them, are robotic idiots.

Exactly 12 months ago, my wife and I sojourned for 10 days in Charlottetown, tending our grandchildren while our daughter and son-in-law vacationed in Costa Rica.

“No problem,” I gamely offered to my beloved of 35 years. “My weather app says the days in these parts should be cold, but beautiful.”

“That’s good to know,” she who must be obeyed replied. “We are going to spend all of our time outside, making snowmen and snow forts with cups of hot chocolate to keep us warm.”

It sounded idyllic. And so, with visions of ice angels dancing in our heads, we hit the road from Moncton. Two days later, the news, courtesy of the CBC had this to say:

“People in Prince Edward Island are being asked by the province to stay home if possible today after a blizzard dumped a record 86.8 centimetres of snow at Charlottetown Airport on Sunday and Monday. The mainland was cut off from P.E.I. for more than a day and a half, as Confederation Bridge was closed at 4:50 p.m. Sunday and didn’t reopen until 7:20 a.m. Tuesday. General manager Michel LeChasseur told CBC News this may be the longest the bridge has been closed to all traffic since it opened in 1997.

Ahem. . .so much for my vaunted weather app. Still, I check it. I just can’t seem to help myself.

So it was the other day – whilst happily trolling through the long-range forecasts for Los Angeles; London, England; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Guysborough County, Nova Scotia – I landed on Moncton.

There, I saw how gentle the temperatures would be in late February, how mild the predicted snowfall was. Then, I came upon a report for March 4: Thirty-five-to-forty-five centimetres of the white stuff with at least 15 more the following day. What?

I immediately phoned a tech-savvy friend and demanded an explanation.

“You know I actually have a job,” he began, alluding to the fact that he was at work and that I am a lowly freelancer who prefers to scribble in his “leisure suit” between bouts of weather-induced paranoia.

“Sure, sure,” I conceded, “but what do you make of this forecast? I mean, how can they know 14 days in advance what’s going to happen in my backyard?”

One word, he said: “Algorithms . . .The less snow that falls in any given winter, the more snow gets computer modelled and pushed to the end of the year. It’s math, boy, simple math.”

That, I protested, doesn’t make any sense. In fact, I declared, “It’s not fair.”

No, it’s not, he sighed. “Neither is the fact that you’re an idiot.”

I went back to my weather app and found that the forecast had changed again. It would be, after all, much milder and gentler. Crisis averted. Paranoia mitigated. All’s right with the world again. Thank you, weather app.

It’s funny how I never do this in the middle of summer.

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She’ll be comin’ around the mountain of snow


A change of the dominant topic of conversation within the warrens occupied by downtown Moncton office workers surely signals – if nothing else does – the imminent arrival of that long-rumoured, nearly mythological, lady called “Spring”.

Bragging rights around the water cooler no longer extend to the those who can demonstrate, via selfies, the sheer volume of snow they have, with their strained and sprained muscles, removed in any given 24-hour period.

Nope; the kings and queens of the annual March madness that is winter in Moncton are now those who can answer the question, affirmatively and with definition and confidence: “So, did drinks come with your all-inclusive package to Cuba this year?”

Pick your poison: Havana or the Dominican Republic’s Santo Domingo. Of course, some here still favour the old standards. The Mayan Riviera along Mexico’s west coast is still a sweet peach of a place. So is, for the well-traveled sophisticates among us, Valparaiso in Chile.

But wherever we choose to bake on a beach, we are sending a message to the universe: Enough, already! And, at about this time of the year, the universe always heeds our entreaties. Doesn’t it?

As I say “we”, I should clarify that I have never left my winter perch for sunny, southern locales in the thick of a Maritime winter. After all, someone should man the snow fort, shouldn’t one?

Besides, being snowbound in Moncton isn’t all bad.

It could be Charlottetown.

There, my wife and I had the exquisite pleasure (and timing) of caring for two of our grandchildren in mid-February whilst our daughter and her husband scuttled off to Costa Rica for 10 days.

“Sure, honey,” I said to Jess, as we negotiated the terms of our sojourn. “No problem at all. This is the age of mobile communications. I’ll just transfer all my files on a flash drive and work from your home office there.”

Then came the snow.

Buckets of white poured from the sky. I broke my son-in-law’s shovel just clearing off the back deck. I ventured out into the blizzard to buy the last two scoops the city proffered. I broke one (again), and the other won’t be seen until the next ice-age recedes to reveal a glacial lake where my daughter’s garden once flourished.

Did I get any work done – the sort that actually pays me to, you know, hang out with snow plow drivers in Prince Edward Island? Let’s just say I arrived home to Moncton fitter than I have been since I swam the Halifax Arm in February, on a dare, when I was 22. (By way, just try that feat this year; I’m told you can skate from Jubilee Point to Prospect Bay without breaking the ice once).

And so, in the winter of 2015, the totals mount. Saint John broke its accumulation record, so did Charlottetown. Moncton is almost there (12 centimeters to go). Halifax? Forget about it. That coastal city has wrapped itself in blankets and assumed the fetal position. Municipal representatives, arguing with the provincial government, are still hemming and hawing over the issue of snow tires on cars that regularly traverse 10 per cent inclines of ice in the urban core. (It’s good to know that at least one thing doesn’t change in the city of my adolescence: utter stupidity).

As for all you periodic “sun-wingers” from the Hub City, enjoy your bragging rights, and know that when you return home, lovely, dulcet “Spring” will be just around the corner, just behind the snow bank you weren’t here to shovel.

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