Sometimes it snows, sometimes it rains, but when it does both at the same time it is a whole new experience in misery. An overnight heavy snowfall – not a storm or blizzard – peacefully deposits a blanket of snow on streets and sidewalks. The nighttime tranquility is interrupted only by the sound of trucks outfitted with plows clearing the streets of snow.
Last night several millimeters of freezing rain fell. The sound of ice pellets hitting windows sounds like so many pins and needles. The trucks still plow not snow but slush and also strew tons of road salt in an effort to make streets safe for cars. Sidewalks are a bit of an afterthought unfortunately.
But perhaps the key sound to be heard was that quintessential Canadian melody of ice being scraped from a windshield. Nothing says it’s going to be a difficult morning commute like the repetitive chiselling of a coat of ice that has formed on flat surfaces including the windows and mirrors of your neighbours’ cars.
There is certainly nothing serene or calm about it; no fresh blanket of snow. Rather, underfoot, a combination of sheer ice with a coating of water (imagine a just resurfaced skating rink), awaits pedestrians and drivers. You can’t make snow angels in slush, and you will regret trying, no “slushmen” with corn cob pipes, button noses and coal eyes will be spotted in the neighborhood. No Winter Wonderland this morning.
Add to the rotten experience of trying to get to work or school in these conditions the reality for many of getting ready to do so in the dark. Rain water freezes on power lines and accumulates in layers. Ice becomes very heavy when it builds up and often brings down the line leaving thousands without electricity.
Oh well, it could be worse, Donald Trump could say there is no global warming and that what should have been a snowfall but came down as rain – in Montreal; in February – is fake weather!