Nancy MacKinnon, owner of Belle’s Boutique in Montague cleared the walkway in front of her store to open for business after a morning storm. Beth Atkinson photo.
Islanders weigh in on whether this winter is worse than years before
If you ask a handful of Islanders if the weather has worsened over the years, chances are you’ll hear many different answers.
Everyone has their own opinion on how much snow we’ve gotten and how cold it has been but what Environment Canada’s statistics show is that our weather has always been unpredictable.
From decade to decade Charlottetown’s snowfall amounts have ranged drastically from as little as 170cm in 1999 to the record-breaking winter of 2015 with 597cm.
Last year’s winter didn’t show much of a change with 267cm of snow.
Matthew Sentner, an island storm chaser has been collecting data for the last ten years from the weather stations he has put up around his place in Charlottetown.
“I would say that in recent years, storms hitting the east coast have become more intense.”
But what surprised him most this winter was how early it started. He said he reported snow flurries as late as June 6 last year and then the first snowfall for this winter was on October 18.
“That’s only four months and 12 days between snow flurries.”
The winds have been stronger than normal this winter as well with multiples storms gusting in the 90-110km range.
Sentner’s data shows that some Islanders are right in thinking this winter has been different.
A storm hit Charlottetown on Nov. 4, which Sentner said he recorded a gust of 121.1km/h in the Charlottetown Harbour while another on Nov. 29 had peak gusts of 96km/h.
“Those two gusts are by far the strongest gusts I have recorded myself so far.”
Shaheerah Soogun said it’s weird this winter because there’s more snow so far than last winter. She’s an international student who has been living in Charlottetown for two years.
“It has been very cold and slushy.”
It’s not usually like this during January, said Soogun.
“The temperature is fluctuating a lot. We had a very hot summer and we’re probably going to have a very cold winter.”
It’s been a messier year than last year, very slushy, said Cindy Banks of Charlottetown.
“It started very early which makes it very different from last year. You just never know what you’re going to get.”
Fiona Jones has been living in Charlottetown for years and has a different view of the Island’s winters.
“It’s winter in Canada. You kind of have to expect some snow, some cold temperatures, some wild wind.”
Jones said the old folks telling stories of their treacherous walks to school are true.
“I can remember their being times, and even back in 2015, where the snow would have been piled high enough that you could have touched the wires.”
She said this winter did start earlier than she would have liked.
“But, I mean, it’s winter in Canada, what do you expect?”