Phony Winter

Those of us who are of a certain age can remember our parents or grandparents talking about the “Phony War” that took place 80 years ago at the beginning of World War II.

This year started out with the “Phony Winter.” We got some early rumbling before the End of October with a brief snowfall. Then winter seemed to vanish.

November wasn’t as gloomy and miserable as normal – it turned out quite mild and often sunny. December had numerous mild spells too – and very little snow. It looked for a while that we might have a green Christmas here in the Valley. There was barely enough snow on the ground to make it a white one.

Well, the Phony Winter is over. Temperatures plunged in January. The past week we had two 25 cm snowfalls in four days. Last Sunday was particularly brutal – snow, wind, and -20 C temperatures the likes of which Ottawa has not seen in 125 years.

Here’s how it looks today outside the house. This is just a preliminary snowfall accompanying a cold front. Temperatures are forecasted to drop to -26 C tonight. For American friends reading this, that is pretty cold.

Next, we expect another major snowstorm late Monday. And then it will really get cold, according to the weather forecasters.

This is how the back yard looks as of yesterday. I don’t have the urge to go out and light the grill for outdoor cookery, thank you.

If the coming storm is as bad as predicted, we have a chance to break the all-time record for snow in January. Having lived here in the winter of 2007-2008, I find that hard to believe – but there ya go.

Polar vortex here we come. Any doubt that we wouldn’t get a real winter in 2018-19 can now be put to rest.

Published by Ray MacDonald

Ray MacDonald is a retired food scientist who lives in Almonte, ON.
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