Cold is a Relative Thing and Making Things Up (Video)

Winter weather in Alberta is an exercise in relativity. When the temperature  first dips to just below freezing (-1C or 30F), it feels cold – but it feels warm compared to the day when it gets down to -10C (-14F). Inevitably, the really COLD weather will arrive – which it did with a vengeance just a few days ago.

-27C is -16F; -34C is -29F

Anything below -20C is really cold.  -20C, -27C,  -34C. No more relativity – it is all just really, really cold. The forecast says it will warm up by this week-end, but do they really mean that? Watch the video below:

I took some photos when it was a balmy -10C.

Frost Covered Trees
Frost covered trees with a Topaz Studio filter called oil.
Macro photo of frost crystals.
Frost crystals with a Topaz Studio sharp filter.

If you are a regular reader, you will wonder why I’m still in Alberta and not soaking up the sun in Arizona. The answer to that is – some times one door closes but another ten open. On the closed door side, the ‘Rona virus and various levels of government made it much less appealing to travel – (though not impossible). On the open door side – at our Alberta house there is a ‘Never Ending Reno’ list, enough craft and hobby supplies to last a lifetime, family to visit as soon as this lock down is lifted and the always enticing prospect of an early start to gardening season! Yah!

Is it still winter where you are? What is the coldest temperature you saw this year? How accurate are the weather reports where you live?

30 thoughts on “Cold is a Relative Thing and Making Things Up (Video)

  1. We’ve had a fairly mild winter until this month, and now mother nature is making up for it, big time! But no where near as cold as your temps…the high on Saturday is 9F. What’s odd for our area is that we don’t usually stay below freezing for two weeks, but we’re doing it now.
    So sorry your Arizona plans were ruined by Covid, but it sounds as if you are “making lemonade out of lemons.” I hope your lock down is lifted soon and your family can come visit!

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    1. We had fairly mild winter too, so really can’t complain about this blast of Arctic air!

      As my husband so aptly explained our altered plans, isolation is more normal here in Alberta because we live in a rural setting. In Arizona we stay in a town and we wouldn’t be able to do most of the things there that we normally do.

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  2. Here in Southern Ontario, we’ve had an up and down winter so far. We had two big snowstorms in December, but lots of zero (Celsius) days in between. January wasn’t bad – sun and a little snow here and there, but February has been “typical” – lots of snow (nearly every day at least a centimeter or two) and freezing temps (-15 or so the last 10 days; it IS predicted to go up to +1 next week. LOL!) I skip between multiple weather forecasts online every day – they all range from “fairly accurate” to “ridiculously WRONG!” I’m reminded of a comment I read a long time ago, “Weather forecasters are the only people who get to keep their job even though they get things wrong more often than they get them right.” Stay warm and keep doing those chores (I’ve been glued to the computer, doing genealogy research – it was either that or hibernation!)

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    1. Weather is tough enough to forecast. Climate change forecasts must be even more tricky.

      I’ve noticed that some places have more reliable forecasts. I think it has to do with proximity to big moderating influences. In Alberta we are really near the Rocky Mountains and the weather often has to come over those before it arrives here. The weather can get hung up in the mountains – that’s for sure! In Arizona, the weather comes in from California. Miles and miles of desert – gives the forecasters a longer heads up on what is rolling in, unimpeded!

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      1. We’re in a bit of a “microclimate” where we are. One day last week, I pulled out of the garage and it was sunny, but cold in the driveway. Three hundred feet north, I turned the corner to see thick fog and trees coated in frozen fog (which I’d never even heard of until we moved here). For the next couple of miles, the landscape was a frozen wonderland; then it went back to sunny and frost-free. Weird.

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  3. As you know, Margy, we’re neighbours, and it has indeed been brutal the last few weeks. I thought of showing my husband the video, but he has completely lost his sense of humour when it comes to the weather. However, it sure made me laugh – of course, I don’t do the shovelling around here. Great post.

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    1. It’s been too cold to even get out and shovel! The Car Guy got the tractor out today and cleared the driveway out to the road. He said he’s not going out there again until it gets above -15 again.

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    1. Minus 10 seems very cold for your part of the world.
      We lived south of London for a few years and I remember the house never really seemed to warm up. There is a lot to be said for the forced air heating we have here in many parts of Canada.

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        1. Yes, we typically have 194 days a year where the minimum temperature is below freezing. We have, on average, 71 days a year where the temperature is below -10C. We are fortunate to live where there is abundant natural gas!

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  4. Love the video! So true; We don’t trust the numbers past about five days here either. More importantly, we Americans need to get over ourselves and move to the metric system. I’m embarrassed to say I can’t convert any of your C numbers on the fly (though I know it’s a weird calculation). Fahrenheit has had its day; now is the time to move on.

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    1. Funny you should mention converting. A friend who just moved back to Canada after living in Luxembourg for a long time noted how confusing Canada is. We measure our outside temp in C but our ovens are in F. Football is still measured in ft. Lumber is measured in board feet. Rural land was laid out in a grid measured in miles – so locals will give directions in miles. Our measuring cups will be metric but also be in cups because of the cookbooks we still use. (I don’t, personally think in terms of 15 milliliter’s worth of sugar – I can more easily visualize 1 tablespoon of sugar. I go to the butcher for a pound of meat, not .453 kg.

      I’m bilingual (metric and Imperial) but was raised with Imperial units. Old habits die hard!

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    1. And we blame the cold on the Arctic!
      Yes, I’m looking forward to spring too – but we’ve got a ton of indoor projects we’d like to get done (which we have been putting off for the 8 years we have been going to Arizona for part of the winter)!

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  5. Winter is not my favorite season at all, despite its beauty which you have displayed nicely in these photos Margy. We will be going to -10F (-23C) Tuesday as this Polar Vortex descends on us. The weather folks say last weeks brutal cold was kid stuff. We are also expecting a big snowfall. I know why you’re not in Arizona as we’ve discussed it, but I am sure you have cursed COVID more than once for needing to stay in this brutal cold/snow this Winter.

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    1. I don’t blame Covid – this is all on how the governments have responded to the virus – no consistency to the rules, and no transparency on how the rules are determined!

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      1. The vaccine rollout here is terrible. I don’t intend to get my vaccine until I know for sure the follow-up vaccine will be available. They cannot always guarantee that now. I am not old enough for the vaccine yet … on the cusp though. I will turn 65 in April.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It is now Monday and the temperature got up to -15C, which is what the forecast above said was the warming trend for three days before this! At least the weather forecasters give us hope. You can’t really say that about most of the rest of the ‘news’.

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