Saturday, January 23, 2016

Seems We Are Having A Normal Winter, But I Remember A Very Cold Morning In Alberta

Not that I am any expert on “normal” weather if such a thing as “normal” does exist at all, but so far we haven’t had any extremes, no extreme cold, no extraordinary amounts of snow nor even extreme storms, though we have had strong winds. But strong winds can be considered 
“normal” in a coastal area. I mean anybody with a brain would EXPECT strong winds along the coast.

My expertise on Canadian winters is based on only a few (5!) winters and those were endured in Alberta, which is far removed from any coast. All the other winters were spent in the Desert South-West.
Remembering those Canadian winters, the 2. we had was the closest to what I perceived as an extreme. Eight months earlier we had moved into an old house (we are always ending up in old houses) and hadn’t even managed to get the bedroom ready, so we had rigged up our beds in the living room. Well we woke up one morning and I felt that something was very wrong.

It was too COLD and I couldn’t make out the hum from or furnace blowing warm air into the house.
When I got up I saw that the inside thermometer showed +8C (46F) only, and yes the furnace was quiet. So I wandered to the entry door where we had an OUTSIDE thermometer. Problem was I couldn’t see the red Mercury, not at first anyway. But then, I discovered a red spot wayyy down in the bottom. Our thermometer read –53C (-63F).
A cold feel crept down my spine. Could it be…?

Could it be that our furnace was frozen???

Nah…it wasn’t the furnace there was something wrong with. It was the PROPANE which was missing. Propane stops flowing at around –40C
(-40F), normally the regulator quits first. Anyway here we were up the creek with a broken paddle.

But we had a wood stove in the kitchen, so that was where I was headed next. But it took a while before the house was back up at livable temperatures.

Two days later the propane had just come back, I opened the door and was surprised by the mild weather.
1-Jens P.But when I checked the thermometer it still showed –35C (-31F)!  And that was the single most impressive experience with the weather I ever had. The difference from
–53C to –35C is phenomenal and beyond our imagination.

I still have that crazy hat…

Out here at the coast we hardly ever reach that far down temperatures. Surrounding waters are taking the role of a mitigating factor, keeping us out of extreme cold during winter but keeping us cool in the summer.

By the way, the current snowstorm “Jonas” pounding the eastern seaboard of the US, is bypassing us alltogether as it will move out to sea, and we can’t be more thankful for it.


  1. I lived in Montana when we had some really really cold (way below zero temps) but I was young and didn't realize how cold it was. Never had the furnace go out thank goodness. Glad you are warmer this winter.

  2. Winter is never normal for me. A lot of troubles seem to arise when the temperature drops, and that is the worst time to experience any problems in the home. Getting a maintenance or plumbing guy out here when the temperature hits 15 degrees isn't easy. They are overwhelmed! That is why I do a lot of preventive maintenance during the fall months. Makes winter a lot easier.

    Rosa Nelson @ HVAC Philadelphia

  3. I spent a few years of my childhood in Canada. I thought that I knew what cold was from Oklahoma winters. But there is nothing compared to a Canada winter. We used to put baked potatoes at the bottom of the bed to keep our feet warm. It was also the first time that I had ever seen Canada snow.

    Shayne Gustafson @ Berico Heating and Air


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