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Snow on Victoria Day

May 17, 2015

It’s been raining all day, getting heavier as the day goes on.  The temperature is dropping.  The wind is strong and gusting.  Yesterday it was so beautiful I just had to get out for a walk.  It was warm with blue skies and sunshine, and light winds.  I enjoyed my walk.  I even went farther than I intended to.  I walk at a brisk pace.  I was overheated and looking forward to a cool glass of lemonade when I got home.  The house was warm enough from the sun that the furnace never came on.  That was yesterday.

Today, it was cool and raining.  Tomorrow is Victoria Day.  The forecast is for plunging temperatures with snow and freezing rain, starting tonight.  Winds are supposed to be very strong and gusting.  What’s going on?  This is May.  Victoria Day is supposed to be warm.  It’s supposed to be the beginning of summer.  Now I’m expecting to see snow all over the ground when I look out the window tomorrow morning.

They tell us that a Colorado low is coming through tomorrow.  Why does the weather always come from someplace else?  Sometimes we get an Alberta clipper.  Come to think of it, my grandfather used to listen to the weather reports from a Regina radio station so he could tell what was coming our way.  I suppose it really does come from someplace else.

People always say “don’t plant your garden until after Victoria Day”.  Of course that always used to be the 24th of May.  This year, Victoria Day is almost a week early.  Now they call it “the May long”.  People go camping on Victoria Day weekend.  Not this year!  It would be terrible for a family to spend two days cooped up in a tent in the rain and freezing weather.  It’s not supposed to be like this.

I once spoke to a climatologist, a fellow with a farm background.  When I mentioned that we never get normal weather, he said “that’s exactly right”.  We have a wide range of weather.  Normal weather is just an average.  Most of the time we get something different from the normal.  Normal is mostly fiction.  He also told me that we have had a frost every month of the year except for July and August.  I suppose the last frost would be in early June and the first one in late September.  “Cover your tomato plants”, they also say.

We also have extreme weather.  Tomorrow will be a day of extreme weather.  We get hot spells.  We get cold spells.  We get storms, with heavy rain or snow, sometimes even with thunder storms or tornados.  We get dry spells too.  It’s usually very pleasant here in the summer, with blue skies, moderate temperatures, and light winds.  At least, that’s what we tell the tourists.  It’s true, although you may have to wait for those pleasant summer days.

I understand that with global warming under way, we are going to have more extreme weather and less normal weather.  It’s simply because the higher temperatures will put more energy into the global atmospheric system.  I’m not looking forward to that change.


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