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We don’t need any more snow

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The author pictured after the blizzard of April 1997. Drifts were as high as 12 feet on main thoroughfares.

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The author pictured after the blizzard of April 1997. Drifts were as high as 12 feet on main thoroughfares. Photo Store

Here is some terrific news for all of us Winnipeg snowbound folks — we are normally we are free of snow each and every July and August, so that gives us something to look forward to.

We usually see our first snowfall in late October, although we have had snow as early as September. Our last snowfall typically happens in April,but we have had snow in May and even June in the past.

Of Canada’s 33 largest cities, Winnipeg is No. 11 as far as how many days each year it snows. If it’s any consolation, there are 25 cities in Canada that get more snow on average than we do here in Winnipeg, with our average winter at 45 inches. Cities in Quebec and in the Maritimes are much worse, with amounts up to 130 inches per year.  

City street cleaning and street scraping has the snow banks up as high as seven feet along most of our thoroughfares, making it extremely dangerous when turning off side streets onto major roads. One almost has to edge out onto the road to get a chance to see if there’s anything coming. All of our driveways look like tunnels as the snow is piled higher than a city bus.

The side streets are a mess at the time of this writing, filled with icy ruts that make it treacherous for passing oncoming traffic and even more treacherous for our senior population, as far as walking anywhere outside. The problem with additional scraping is that our banks will become eight feet high instead of seven. There is hardly any place to throw the snow if you are shovelling . It takes a good toss right now to clear the bank, so more snow will be problematic.
Hopefully we won’t have a repeat of the 1966 or 1997 blizzards to add to our woes.

It was March 4, 1966 when Winnipeg recorded 14.6 inches of snow along with winds of 70 miles per hour that crippled the city for almost three days. Most emergency people (doctors & nurses) got to their work places via snowmobiles. Some snowbanks along major routes were as high as 12 feet.

The blizzard of 1997 was even later, beginning April 6 and continuing until the 7th. Although the temperature was much warmer than in 1966, we got more snow at 16.9 inches.

Because of the warmer temperatures there were hydro lines snapping, roofs collapsing and the good possibility of a spring flood on its way.

Many Winnipeggers put away their shovels and, after moving tons of wet heavy snow had to go on one of sandbag brigades along the riverbanks.

Be on the lookout for any Colorado lows. That is just the type of weather system that will cause us harm.

Rick Sparling is a community correspondent for North Kildonan. Email him at ricksparling@shaw.ca

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