Updated: Nov 25, 2020
Last week we got 15 cms of soggy snow...then the temperature went to -15 and everything froze solid, colline de bins. Shoveling was tough. The stuff was heavy like wet concrete but if you left it for too long it was like a layer of rock that stuck to everything. This, apparently, is what we can expect for the future. More wet, then cold, then wet, then warm. Tonight we're hovering around freezing - ten degrees above normal. My point? There is no more normal and I predict weather will become less predictable. Ha ha. This might not happen in a hurry, mind you (not in human terms anyway), but in addition to more severe storms, we're continually recording new weather records here and around the world. Time to stop hiding from it.
I wrote a couple of posts ago about yo yo temperatures. So why be concerned specifically about soggy then frozen snow? In the video attached to this post I show and explain how wet snow can impact your electrical and communications wires. That kind of very wet snow is extremely heavy, and it sticks to wires and to tree branches, dragging them both earthward. Earlier this winter we had the same thing - wet snow that stuck to everything, and then it froze, and then it snowed on top of the stuck snow. And some of us have seen ice storms which, by the way are expected to happen more often as temperatures rise in the winter. Ice is heavier than snow, yes?
We're surrounded by conifers which have brittle branch structures. Pine branches are prone to snapping when they're stressed with snow and ice and wind too. And you might have noticed that many of us are surrounded by trees. The trees are one of the reasons we love it here! And you may have noticed that a lot of our wires go through and under those trees which combines with changing weather patterns to add a layer of risk to your home. What do you do if you lose the internet (which at times I would consider a blessing...)? What do you do if the power goes out? Are you ready for a prolonged wait for Hydro Quebec? Because depending on how big and bad the storm was, you could be waiting days to get your electricity back. How will you stay warm? What and how will you eat? How else will you be inconvenienced? Speaking of serious inconvenience, how will you read your Low Down newspaper?!
There are some other reasons to be concerned about this. Lots of broken branches on the forest floor can contribute to a higher forest fire risk, and falling branches can block roads and damage people and houses.
So what do you do? There's a few things. When we have a heavy snow like last week take a walk and take note of where branches are on, or getting close to, your wires. Then call Hydro (on public property) or a tree service (on private property) and have those branches trimmed once they're off the wires. Then maybe think about whether you want to invest in an alternate heating source so you don't have to abandon your home during a power outage. An appropriately sized and installed wood stove or propane fireplace can be a huge advantage, and if you're way off in the bush I consider a generator to be an essential piece of equipment. There are lots of other tips about planning for an emergency. Your Municipality's website is a great place to start http://www.villelapeche.qc.ca/en/emergencies/
and check out my little video and you will get a good visual of what I'm talking about.