Monday, 2 February 2009

Squirrels Are Out, But No Groundhogs in Sunny, Snow-covered Montreal

The fresh snow was crisscrossed by squirrel tracks this morning as I walked through Parc Joyce. The temperature is approaching freezing for the first time since mid-January, and obviously after weeks of deep freeze the beasties have awakened briefly to go looking for food.

But I suspect the groundhog who foraged in our bumper crop of pears last summer won’t make it out of whatever hole he hides in: there's too much snow. If he did manage to dig his way out, however, he’d see his shadow and that is supposed to mean six more weeks of winter.

Hah! In this climate, that’s a given!

So far this winter has been far more snowy than usual, and nearly as snowy as last year which everyone complained about. I did some rummaging in Environment Canada records to find that 198.4 cm (78.1 inches or 6.5 feet) of snow fell between October 2007 and the end of January 2008, while between October 2008 and the end of January 2009, 183.3 (slightly more than 6 feet) fell. That should be compared with the 72.4 cm (28 inches) which usually falls in the same period, and the 217.5 cm (about 7 feet) we get an average winter.

No wonder I saw some little kids cross country skiing to school last week!

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