Calgary's first heavy snowfall of the season

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And it’s not even Hallowe’en yet.

Starting early this week, the weather folk started telling us to prepare for Calgary’s first snowstorm of the season. This is something we’ve heard a couple of times before — some of you might have heard about this “big dump” we were supposed to get back in September (we had, at most, a light dusting).

This time, though, they weren’t wrong. Tuesday, it started raining. And the temperature fell all day. By 20:00, it was snowing. Only colder things (e.g. cars and benches) were gathering an accumulation. Everywhere else it was melting away. I walked home from downtown — by the time I got there, it was clear that this wasn’t going to be a simple dusting.

The temperature dropped overnight, and the snow fell harder. By morning, there was at least four inches of snow on my front walk. I debated for a moment on either shovelling before the gym, or dealing with the aftermath when I got home. I chose the latter, mostly because I wanted to get to the gym, and my snow shovel was in the garage.

Before I left, I realized that I would not be able to wear my shoes outside. For the last few years, I’ve worn running shoes — the same ones I would wear to work any other given day. Sounds a little chilly, I know, but because I’m always moving, it’s never been a problem. But my current choice of footwear was definitely not suited to winter weather.

Thus, I hauled out my pair of winter boots. They had not seen outdoors in over six years. The last time I’d worn them was when I worked in downtown Toronto. I had to don a second pair of socks (wool ones), as the rubbing of the leather would probably wreak havoc on my poor feet. These boots have massive grip … on anything that’s not ice (as I found out this morning when my heel got a little too far ahead of me, and I found myself sitting in the middle of Centre Street).

None of the roads had been ploughed, and only one short segment of the sidewalks in my area had been shovelled (the guy gets up even earlier than I do). Memorial Drive was a mess, as the night time traffic wasn’t frequent enough to clear the road. Fortunately, the city Peanut Pusher had cleaned off part of the pathway, giving me an easier walk to the Prince’s Island Park footbridge. The bridge was a little difficult, and the snow was still deep on the other side. I was a couple minutes late getting to the gym.

The snow was still falling heavily when I left the gym over an hour later. The walk to work wasn’t easy. Although more sidewalks were now clear, they were also quite slippery. (Most hadn’t put down any salt.) I was about five minutes late getting to work.

Some people were almost two hours late. And people wonder why I live in the inner city…

It snowed most of the day. It was still snowing when I went home and shovelled the snow from my walkway and sidewalk. (On the bright side, the thick layer of snow obscures the scar where the sewer was replaced — see 24 September 2003.)

The snow had stopped by this morning. But it was -12 when I left the house for the gym. Minus 12. It’s not even November yet. The windchill was double that. So say that this is not exactly expected (or desired) is to put it mildly.

And, of course, tomorrow is Hallowe’en. The forecast is for at least -7, if not colder. You won’t be seeing any ballerinas, elves, or fairies tomorrow night. This years’ hot costume in Calgary? Inuit.

Snow is forecast for a few days yet to come. We won’t see above-zero temperatures for at least a week, by the looks of it. This is definitely one of the weirdest autumns I’ve yet experienced.

I’m not ready to go walking in a mid-fall (hence, not-quite-winter) wonderland.

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