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please hold off until January! I guess that would have been Council’s holiday wish.

The whack of snow we have received so far this month shouldn’t be a surprise. I can remember many brown Christmas’s spent in Parry Sound, but I can also remember the snowy ones. The statistics would suggest that white is much more likely than brown. Here are figures for the average snowfall in Parry Sound as presented in Wikipedia (article link).

Month             Snowfall (cm)       Snowy Days
November             30                          7
December            102                        16
January                 91                        18
February               60                         12
March                   34                          9
April                     10                          4

It turns out that December is the snowiest month. Much of the snow is considered ‘lake effect’, where the cold northwesterly winds pick up moisture from the warmer Lake Huron and Georgian Bay and then drop it as they meet the colder highlands of the coast. With the arrival of the new year more of the lake and bay are frozen over and there is much less moisture to be captured by the cruel winds of January.

But why is December so often ‘brown’? I believe it has to do with the amount of rain that usually falls in December versus January. With the lower daily mean temperatures in January (-9 degrees C) versus December (-5 degrees C), precipitation that falls is more likely to be rain in December than it is in January. The mean rainfall in December is 36mm, versus 16mm in January. And as skiers and snowmobilers well know a great snowfall followed by rain is about as good as nothing. This explains why last year was a pretty poor season for snow sports. Early December started with considerable snow but was followed by rain. It was only in January that the snow came and hung around.

This all leads to the decision of Council to put off delivery of the new 7-Ton plow until January 2014 to coincide with the new budget year. We were committed to purchasing the plow, so the money was going to be spent. But to ‘meet the numbers’ delivery was put off until the New Year. But I wonder. I was walking along Bowes Street this morning and saw a pretty shiny 7-Ton truck go by with it’s blade down. Perhaps it’s the truck that was delivered a year ago or perhaps the manufacturer decided to deliver it a bit early but still invoice January 1st. Looking at the historical figures it might have been a good idea to have taken delivery of the 7-Ton truck in November.

Regardless, the Town Staff have done a great job of keeping the streets clear and passable with what they have. The purchase of the trackless plow/blowers has paid off handsomely this year. As January approaches it seems more and more likely that what we have received so far will stay, and more will arrive. It promises to be a great season for outdoor winter sports.

Anyone sorry that they don’t live in Toronto?

Over the Hill and to the Museum We Go (Parry Sound in Black & White)

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