Edmonton weather has long been my nemesis. If I could have a superpower, I would want it to be the ability to control the weather. I could convincingly argue that it was one of the reasons I moved away for so long and one of the reasons I hesitated to move back here. I am without a doubt (or an apology) a weather wimp. I prefer calm, warm or hot conditions with sunshine and blue skies, and I get easily bummed out when it’s cold, cloudy, windy, rainy or snowy. This, of course, makes winter in this northern city an excruciatingly long season for me.
In 2012, for the first time in all the years I lived here (about 22 inconsecutive years), the weather in Edmonton has been quite pleasant for me. We had a lovely winter (relatively short, not many major cold snaps, not many major dumps of snow) especially in comparison to the previous winter that was the worst in 40 years. Spring was relatively dry, and summer was beautiful (hot, dry and calm many days). I complained the least amount about the weather that I probably ever have here. Until mid-October that is.
Now I feel nothing but misery because of the weather. I had the sense that this last half of October has been unseasonably cold weather-wise, but I wanted to see if my perception was accurate. I did some digging, and here’s what I noticed or learned.
The month started out well, with October 1 seeing a delightful temperature of 20.5°C (according to Environment Canada data). But by mid-month, things had really started to fall. While the average normal highs and lows for this final week of the month are 4°C and -6°C, we have had temperatures 1°C or colder every day since October 21 (and that data does not include today—which is well colder than that and not yet in the data set—or that the forecast for the next four days after today call for highs of 0°C or colder). As for the nightly lows, we have been colder than average four nights of the last six, and forecasts call for the next six to be the same, including a very frosty -14°C on Halloween night (pity those poor kids). As for wind, we have heard and been blown about by more than our share of that too. For the entire month, we have had a ridiculous 18 days where the wind has gusted more than 30 kilometres per hour (of those, 7 were more than 40 km/hr, and 3 were more than 60 km/hr).
None of this data includes how many days have been completely overcast for the whole day (so many in a row that I’ve lost count) or how much snow we’ve had in total if you count all of it, even the bits that melted earlier (because I can’t find any concrete data about it). And more snow is falling and blowing around as I sit here writing this blog, shaking my head and sighing in growing dismay. According to TheWeatherNetwork.com, on average Edmonton has 2 days with snowfall in October; there have been more than that this weekend alone (including Friday night), and it hasn’t been the stuff that melts as soon as it touches the ground; it’s accumulating. Looking out my window, all is see our neighbors’ roofs covered in white. Our first snowfall of the season that accumulated was already last Saturday, October 20; in comparison, last year, we didn’t have our first snow accumulation until November 12.
So, what’s my point? My point is that I am tired of the late October misery that reminds me of November (one of my least favorite months in Edmonton because of its bleakness and the feeling that the doom of winter gets closer every day) and of the notion that somehow our upcoming winter has been extended beyond its already woefully long boundaries. I don’t have the ability to control the weather, so I am sending a wish out to the universe for a bit of a reprieve before November brings snow to stay for the season and sends me perpetually indoors. With only 3½ more days in the month of October, I’m a little sceptical.
(I won’t start on the October misery that is the performance of my hometown football team, the Edmonton Eskimos, because I’d been ranting about that for hours.)