The Great Victoria Blizzard of 2019, Day 1

I was unprepared for the great blizzard of 2019,  I blame the weather forecasters. There have been weather warnings and emergency planning for days now, turning the storm that never was into little more than a joke. But when I stepped out this morning for our dog walk, there were some sort of icy pellets falling from the sky. Tucker pooped and was ready to go home, but I tugged him along.

By the time I got to Saxe Point, my first ocean walk, it was really snowing. I took photos but they look like any other cloudy day. It was so warm I had to wonder how this was snow and not rain.  By the time we got to Macaulay Point, our second ocean walk of the morning, the  snow was staying on the ground. The park was almost abandoned, but the people I did meet were grinning ear to ear, and the dogs were loving it too. On our way to our last park, High Rock, we passed a school just letting out. The kids, excited to put it mildly, had been let out early for a SNOW DAY.

By the time we reached High Rock the snow was piling up. Some teachers had brought their students here to experience this novel weather. Kids were throwing snowballs and making snowmen, my glasses were smudged and the rest of me wet. One girl needed my help on the trail. She was scared to take a step on the snow (for real). Another boy slipped and fell into the snow and was crying for help. It was a big adventure for them. Tucker was going crazy, rolling in the snow and running through it like a puppy.

It was yoga and swim day for us, but we watched big flakes of snow fall all afternoon through the windows of the pool, from the comfort of the hot tub. On the way home we stocked up with snowstorm food, the fixings for a hearty pea soup. We’ve just ordered TV service and opened the winter puzzle this week, so we’re all set for THE BLIZZARD.

Over soup we watched the local news.  They sent someone out to measure the snow. She had a cute little toque on, and she stuck a metre stick into the snow – “Yes, I think it’s five centimetres”, she said with excitement.  They interviewed someone, shoveling her driveway. “Better to shovel 5 centimetres than 15”, she told the reporter, obviously planning to shovel a few more times. They played her clip over and over. She was not even wearing a jacket. Did I mention it’s not quite below zero? All over town people were shoveling and salting. The gas station across the street had two men out shoveling a light dusting of snow in the far corner of the lot, determined to clear off every flake.

Around dinner time the wind picked up, and this storm suddenly started to feel a bit real. I took Tucker out around 6 PM, and we could barely walk against it. The sidewalks, despite all the salting, were a sheet of ice. Tucker did his business quickly and pulled me back inside. The winds were gusting up to 75 k/hr according to my weather app. The sounds of howling winds from the fourth floor was actually a little scary. The news was now full of images of cars, trucks and even a fire engine in the ditch, the snow having piled up even higher just north of us. Emergency measures are opening up more beds for homeless. I fell asleep to the sound of the howling wind, Tucker tucked in a little closer to me than usual.

In Manitoba we’d call this a good ski day.


Jocelyn Hill - Gowlland Todd Provincial Park
Victoria Blizzard - Day 3

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