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Friday Favorite – It has Something to do with the Weather

The snow is falling in Waterloo, Ontario this morning. Based on our scientific measurement of the amount that has accumulated on the hood of the Jeep in our driveway (we grabbed the level from the garage and stuck it into the snow), we’ve had more than 15 cm (or 6 inches) so far. Schools, universities and colleges in the area are closed, and storm centres are in full swing. It’s a snow day!

If I’m honest, what I’m seeing outside my window doesn’t even begin to resemble what would have warranted a snow day when I was growing up in Newfoundland. Snow with no wind was just snow. It wasn’t considered a storm until the winds howled and visibility was nil –– until, as we used to say, you “couldn’t see a hand in front of you”. The drifts would be so high they’d block doorways and bury vehicles. We’re a relatively tall family, and it wasn’t unusual for the drifts in our driveway to be waist high or higher. I’ve seen them shoulder height.

But I’m not complaining and I’m definitely not criticizing. In St. John’s in the 1960s and 70s, the volume of traffic, not to mention the population, was a fraction of what it is where I live today. We didn’t have the infamous 401 Highway to contend with. Some estimates put the number of people on that highway in the vicinity of 500,000 per day, and that’s just in the Greater Toronto Area. If you’ve ever driven the 401 on a good day, you’ll know why it’s a very bad idea to venture onto it on a day like today. But people do, because they have to get to work.

Which brings be to my ‘Friday favorite’. The first thing I do every morning after the alarm goes off is switch on The Weather Network. (I also follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook.) Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the on-air hosts explain both the latest conditions and what to expect in the hours that come. If you live in certain areas of Southern Ontario, they even provide live pictures of the highways you’re most likely to be traveling. The Weather Network doesn’t always get the forecast right… that would take all the fun out of it anyway… but if you happen to be addicted to weather (a common affliction for Newfoundlanders)… it is, to quote my son, what Mount Olympus was to the Greeks.

I probably will head out a bit later today. I’m a Jeep and Land Rover driver (like my dad) and those vehicles do expect to do service in bad weather. But I won’t be headed to the 401 –– according to The Weather Network, the conditions have become treacherous and most of the ramps are blocked.

Thanks to fine folks at TWN for keeping us informed, and stay safe everyone!