Snow Squalls, White-outs and Ice

One of the benefits of being retired is you don’t have to go anywhere unless you need to, or want to. We especially enjoy that benefit when the weather snarls at the world.

Such as when March decides to go out like a lion (Growl! Roar!).

The front blew in Sunday night, and I do mean BLEW! Raging winds averaged 70 – 80 km per hour, gusts up to 120 kph. The house shivered and shook all night. Hard, pelletized snow screamed down sideways. The mercury shrank into the bottom of the thermometer and refused to budge. Uh-uh, no way!

We woke up Monday morning, snuggled warmly in our bed, and listened to the traffic report. Roads were in terrible condition. One driver phoned in to report “Snow squalls, white-outs, and ice.” That was par for the course everywhere. Our hearts went out to the poor souls who had to drive.

Now, in these circumstances there seem to be two kinds of drivers. There are those who “drive to the weather” – they slow down, turn on their lights and, if conditions are really bad, activate their warning lights. They usually make it to work unless . . .

But then there are those who think just because they are driving some honkin’- big, four-wheel-drive SUV/pick-up with all the latest bells and whistles, they can still drive a million miles an hour down the highway until they suddenly find themselves doing a 180 or a 360 whoop-de-doo and ending up in the ditch, right-side-up if they’re lucky. Or worse still, they smack into someone who is driving “to the weather.”

And, sure enough, Monday morning there were smack-ups, mostly just your usual two- or three-car fender-bender encounters of a too-close kind. However, a big “smack-up” on the Trans-Canada Highway near Brooks, AB, made even the national news. About 70 vehicles were involved, cars, trucks and semi-trailers.

Now, I am not surprised that such an event occurred near Brooks. My family has known for decades that particular section of the Trans-Canada is jinxed. Whenever we drove to Alberta to visit relatives, if anything were to go wrong, it would go wrong around Brooks. Flat tires. Dead fuel pumps (twice! On the same trip!). Hail storms. Blizzards. You name it. If we made it without incident past Brooks, we were home free!

No, what surprised me was the number of vehicles involved – 70! The Trans-Canada through Alberta is not the 401 in Toronto. Or the I-5 through Salt Lake City. Here, you’d be lucky to get 70 vehicles over the course of an entire day. So where did all those vehicles come from to end up in one great (and thankfully, not deadly) pile-up? Therein lies the mystery, for me.

Monday, the front moved on to harass neighbouring provinces and states with snow squalls, white-outs and ice. And power outages. And accidents.

March is such a lovely month!

(P.S. My apologies to the residents of Brooks – it’s not your fault that section of the highway is jinxed.)

#MarchLion #MarchWeather #Blizzard #SnowSqualls #TransCanadaHighway #BrooksAlberta #MargaretGHanna

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