I’m always amazed at how weather – no matter how extreme – rarely affects daily lives in Canada.
Sure, once or twice a year we have snow days and school is cancelled, but generally, it seems very rare that an event would be cancelled due to weather conditions.
And I point this out as being a Brazilian who, while growing up south of the Equator, saw countless events being cancelled because there was “a possibility of rain.”
That’s right. That’s all it took. A 20 per cent chance of rain and all events were cancelled.
I remember two years ago in Burns Lake when the annual Christmas parade still took place at -29 C. The plan was actually to cancel it if Burns Lake reached -31 C. But it didn’t. And so we were all outside cheering Santa Claus while I couldn’t feel my toes.
Last week I watched the Moose FM crew spend all day outside of Lakeview Mall in Burns Lake to raise money for the Lakes District Food Bank. They raised a staggering $3900 in cash donations and $850 worth of non-perishable food items. That was very impressive.
But what was more impressive to me was the fact that they spent 12 hours outside when it was -20 C. One of the guys had ice all over his beard.
I told this to my colleagues when I returned to the office, but nobody else seemed as impressed as I was. In fact, one of my colleagues asked me, “So that has never happened to you?”
This goes to show that Canadians consider these temperatures normal. Yes, we see these temperatures every year and they are no surprise; nevertheless, they are extreme temperatures. When you can get a frost bite simply by being outside for a few minutes, I think it’s safe to call it extreme.
Honestly, I’m surprised we go on with our lives as if nothing is happening sometimes. And there’s always that guy in shorts walking around, no matter how cold it gets (you know who you are).
Last week I called Environment Canada asking how long this arctic air mass would last. I tried to be professional, but I’m pretty sure I sounded whiny.
“How long will this last?” I asked with my voice cracking. “It’s so cold here.”
The meteorologist was actually trying to calm me down, as opposed to simply answering my question.
“You’re not alone, it’s happening all across B.C.,” he said, trying to reassure me. “So just remember to dress warm.”
But that wasn’t even the funniest part of that conversation. I found out that Environment Canada has something called “white Christmas statistics.”
At first I thought the meteorologist was making fun of me; after all, I wasn’t sounding too professional in that conversation. But it’s true. So Environment Canada knows, for example, that Prince George has a 90 per cent chance of seeing a white Christmas.
Although I hope we have a white Christmas here, what I really hope is that it’s not -40 C.