Snow

Weather Drama

The other day as I headed home from the grocery store, a woman came running towards my car with a giant Canadian flag on a pole. I had just ventured out in -20 degree C weather to grab a few on sale items mid-day to avoid the crowds.

I thought perhaps she was cheering on our Canadian Olympians heading out to Beijing. I looked to the nearby highway overpass and saw that the bridge was crowded with people braving the extreme cold weather to wave at the truck convoy heading to our Capital city of Ottawa to protest.

Highway 401 Overpass at Highway 6 - Ontario
Highway 401 Overpass Ontario – Not my local bridge but similar!

No matter what you think about this protest, the people cheering them on must feel quite passionately about the protest and issues involved in order to venture out in the extreme cold on an icy windswept bridge.

We regularly visit Ottawa, winter and summer. We visit the parliament buildings and museums and restaurants. But all of these things are closed in Ontario until January 31, due to provincial lockdowns. Where will these protestors go to dine, use the bathroom and stay warm?

We tend to park our vehicle though and walk, weather permitting – because driving and parking there is no fun. So I’m glad not to be in Ottawa this weekend looking for a parking space.

For my international friends – Ottawa is North and East of the Greater Toronto Area (about a 4 and a half hour drive). Even though it’s not that far – it generally seems colder – a dry cold! AND uh oh – “Alerts for: City of Ottawa – Warnings -10:40 AM EST Saturday 29 January 2022
Extreme Cold Warning in effect for: Ottawa North – Kanata – Orléans – Ottawa South – Richmond – Metcalfe -A period of very cold wind chills continues. – Hazards: Wind chill values between minus 30 and minus 35. – When: Tonight through Sunday morning.

Map from Toronto to Ottawa
Toronto to Ottawa Map

I am hoping that the protests are peaceful, and that everyone stays safe and warm. From the warmth of my home – I see that a Bombogenesis is heading to the East Coast of North America. This sounds frightening and concerning.

Man with snowblower
Photo by Lauren Hedges on Pexels.com

Does it seem like our weather people are adding more dramatic terminology for weather to get our attention. They don’t need to – bad weather always gets our attention. It’s bad enough to have to deal with ice storms, blizzards, extreme cold, cyclones, hurricanes and tornadoes – but they have to add more?

Here are some terms that we have been hearing lately and their meanings:

  • Atmospheric River
  • Snowmageddon
  • Bombogenesis
  • Polar Vortex
  • Bomb Cyclone
  • Graupel

All of these weather terms may be real – but sound like a weather horror movie title.

Atmosphere
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Atmospheric River

A narrow corridor or filament of concentrated moisture in the atmosphere. Also known as – tropical plume, tropical connection, moisture plume, water vapor surge, and cloud band. (term first coined in 1990s)


Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse, and Snowzilla 

Made up combination words – first seen in the press in 2009 for a period of heavy snowfall.


Bombogenesis

Typically, cold air over (relatively) warmer water creates a volatile mix that can intensify storms very quickly. This “bombing” of storms, whereby the atmospheric pressure drops very suddenly in the course of hours, was first coined by MIT professor Fred Sanders. (1980)

Guess what? It’s the same as Bomb Cyclone!

Bomb Cyclone

A rapid deepening of a mid-latitude cyclonic low-pressure area, typically occurring over the ocean, but can occur over land. The winds experienced during these storms can be as powerful as that of a typhoon or hurricane. It becomes a bomb when its central pressure decreases very quickly – by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. – (term first coined in 1980).

Polar Vortex

A low pressure area—a wide expanse of swirling cold air—that is parked in polar regions. During winter, the polar vortex at the North Pole expands, sending cold air southward. This phenomenon happens often and causes cold weather further south in Canada and the United States.


Graupel

Graupel, also called soft hail, corn snow, hominy snow, or snow pellets, is precipitation that forms when supercooled water droplets are collected and freeze on falling snowflakes, forming 2–5 mm balls of crisp, opaque rime.

Please try and stay safe and warm this weekend and think positively.

Snow
Snow Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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11 thoughts on “Weather Drama

  1. Ah yes polar vortexes and snow pellets are common in Sask but not at time! To all those who felt compelled to protest – the city is closed down. Not sure how or what they thought this would accomplish.

  2. I’m embarrassed to say that most of the protesters are likely from Alberta. They drove into Edmonton today and really plugged up traffic. I saw one truck with an American flag and an Alberta provincial flag but most had Canadian flags. I saw another vehicle with Wexit on the back window. That’s the new term that they use for western separatists. I have no time for separatists regardless of where they are from. I have to worry about Ottawa as these are not just antivaxxers. Maybe some bad weather will encourage them to head home, although you’re welcome to keep them in Ontario if you want them. Interesting blog about the weather. I’ve never heard of snow pellets. They sound like small hail to me.

    1. I don’t think they are all from Alberta! They sure are a stubborn bunch though. My daughter is waiting to go home to Ottawa from Calgary til they go home!

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