Global Storming

Good morning everyone and happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians.

I want to extend sympathies to our suffering next-door-neighbours in the province of Manitoba, as residents there recover from a major snowstorm. They took quite a bashing at the end of last week.

News reports say that heavy wet snow, up to 60 mm of precipitation, fell across the province, leaving 32,000 residents without power, including most of the city of Portage-la-Prairie and 2000 in Winnipeg. Manitoba is asking for help from utilities in their neighbouring provinces and the state of Minnesota to help restore their system after power lines and pylons were damaged or downed.

The Mayor of Winnipeg and the provincial premier, Brian Pallister, both declared a state of emergency yesterday, according to today’s Winnipeg Free Press. This gives city employees and Manitoba Hydro work crews more authority to enter private property for assessment and repairs as well as and giving both governments access to additional support.

In addition to lack of power, Winnipeg’s emergency response manager Jason Shaw reported that, “At least 30,000 city-owned trees have been impacted by the storm, with a significant portion completely felled or damaged to the point where they may need to be cut down. There is no estimate how many non-city-owned trees have been damaged.”

Twenty years ago we were hearing so much about Global Warming, and since then we here on the prairies have seen some of the coolest, wettest summers in memory. My husband and his relatives were talking not long ago about the hot summers they remembered when they were young, back in the late 50s – early 60s and I can recall summers in the late 60s that daytime temps over 100 degrees F were common. In our old age none of us want to go back there, so we were giving thanks that climate change has been good for the prairies, with our cooler summers and more abundant rainfall. 🙂

I also recall that when I was a teen, weather forecasters were predicting a coming ice age, since globally temperatures were dropping. Considering that they had the 1930s stats factored in, that’s not so surprising. Summers on the great plains of North America were fiercely hot, winters fiercely cold, and all seasons fiercely dry. Temps had moderated a lot by the 1950s. As I recall, the idea of global warming swept in around the late 1980s. The world would get hotter and drier.

I’ve since read that the “proof” for global warming came from juggling weather statistics and omitting those that didn’t fit the theory. While I have a very small — and very regional — understanding of  world climate, from what I gather the globe really hasn’t gotten much warmer. Consequently the concept has been replaced by “climate change” — supposedly being responsible for the increase in severe hurricanes and storms we’re seeing in the news nowadays. Considering what our neighbours in Manitoba have just been through, “global storming” might be a more apt expression.

Weather history includes some really wild storms, like the freak thunder storm in July of 1935 that left a good strip of southern Alberta covered with 20 cm, or 8″, of hail.

I’m definitely against polluting the environment, but whether there are actually more — or more severe storms — in our day, I just can’t say.