Alberta Foothills Weather

November 30 – A month of wind

The one thing I dislike more than bitter cold is endless wind.
November 2011 goes into my books as a writeoff. Drab skies, dreary scenery, cold and windy.
Until last night, we have only had a few skiffs of snow, just enough to snot up the roads but not enough to cover the brown, dusty landscape.
The month has seen a train of stout lows crashing the Alaska and BC coast, dropping lots of snow in the Rockies and building chinooks of wildly varying strength along the Alberta foothills.

The first taste of deep winter came mid-month, Edmonton Intl. Airport saw -35C on the 19th after a low swept past and sucked down some deeply frozen Alaska air that had been setting record lows up there. We didn’t even get close to that cold here, only approaching -25.
Last week saw a major push from the southwest and roaring winds with deep lee troughs forming along the hills under broad sweeping ridges of high pressure pouring over the mountains. The school in Nanton lost some of it’s roof Wednesday (link), big trucks were blowing over on the highways south of Calgary. Someone caught video of a trailer getting yanked off the back of a pickup’s hitch somewhere down there the same day (Link).

A week after the first big chill came the first big chinook.
Winds peaked Sunday and the fur began to fly, almost literally or possibly even literally I suppose. Warnings were out and everybody knew there was some wind coming, but what came was more than most were expecting.
From Innisfail to the U.S. border, reports started to flow near noon of wind damage everywhere, trucks blowing of the highways, roofing flying off, trees crashing down, huge grass fires roaring. 144km/h in Claresholm, 149km/h on the top of Bow Tower in downtown Calgary. Then news of windows breaking and a first ever closure of the city’s core, due to flying debris.
If you haven’t seen this video of a Lufthansa jet crabbing it’s way into the Calgary Airport in stiff crosswind, it’s certainly worth a watch. Peak gust at YYC was 91km/h, that must have been something to experience from the inside too!
More stories here, here, and here.
Insurance companies are talking millions of dollars in damage, a news report I saw mentioned hundreds of millions.
We were right on the edge of it, gusting to 45km/h, but a quick spin a few miles southeast to Innisfail saw a gradual increase in windspeed until we got there and saw big trees down in the town. Trees do seem to take aim at nearby vehicles when the feel they are going down.

Our first classic snow of the year came early this morning, a perfect setup it was.
10-15cm of fluff and not a great deal of wind to blow it around today makes me wonder if things are going to be a bit more pleasant in December than they were in November.
The local muskrats apparently think it will not be nice and seem to be ready for an apocalyptic winter. According to what I could glean from the web, when muskrats build low, small houses, you can expect a mild winter, with them out scurrying about in the chinooky goodness. The bigger the house they build, the worse the winter will be.
This year the musquash have built some sort of mega-condo, it’s the biggest skrat house I have ever seen, 5 or 6 feet tall, and massive. Unless there is another house in the weeds somewhere, there are four of them living in this giant house, which is also unusual.
I’m hoping they were just having a build-off with the neighbors in the next pond.

I’ve been dreading this coming winter since the end of the last one, surely it will be better? Another like last year’s and I fear for my sanity. Another month like this could be enough. Never have the cameras sat 18 days without shooting a shot.

Still waiting for the first crippler to show on the models….

Upper Kananaskis Lake - Oct. 22, 2011Upper Kananaskis Lake - Oct. 22, 2011
First good frost of 2011 - Nov. 5, 2011Sparkling rime on a nippy November morning - Nov. 5, 2011Rime feathers hang from leftover willow leaves - Nov. 5, 2011
First good freezing fog deposits of 2011 - Nov. 5, 2011Rimed birch branches on a frosty November morning - Nov. 5, 2011The Big Muskrat House - Nov. 29, 2011

10 Responses to “November 30 – A month of wind”

  1. 1
    Red Says:

    I’ve missed your posts on weather for quite a while. Good to see you back. Yes it’s been windy. Lots of dust and leaves blowing around in Red Deer all month.

  2. 2
    anthony L Says:

    yesterday Accuweather was showing next Thursdays low of -40! Serious. Actually -42 around Sundre. Its good to see you are still hanging in there. This last Month has been brutal Pat, i feel as if i am in Pincher Creek all over again. I hate wind. I’m ordering 18 inches of snow by Christmas. Can’t hurt to ask?? 🙂

  3. 3
    Pat Boomer Says:

    Hiya Red , Anthony 🙂

    Another month, another day, another winter storm warning.
    Wind begone!

  4. 4
    Dan Jurak Says:

    Finally! I miss not seeing your regular posts.

    We got almost nothing in the way of snow today. It’s off to Nordegg area in a few days for photos. Hopefully the weather is good/bad and the snow hasn’t been blown/melted away.


  5. 5
    Dann Cianca Says:

    Those lake photos are beautiful, Pat.

  6. 6
    Pat Boomer Says:

    Dan, if you are still around out there Saturday morning we could cross paths. Thinking about heading out that way for the eclipse if the weather plays nice.

    Thanks, Dann 🙂

  7. 7
    Brandon Says:

    Great time for the moon to set. 8:30am-ish? Hoping for good skies also.

  8. 8
    Pat Boomer Says:

    Yep Brandon, 8:30 set
    Full eclipse @ 7:12
    Hopefully Saturday’s system will wait till noon to move in.

  9. 9
    Dan Jurak Says:

    @ Pat, I got out to Abraham yesterday and promptly busted the adapter that allows me to use a Nikon lens on my Canon body. I could have cried. Of course I didn’t bother to bring another wide lens with me so I am writing this from home. Sigh…

    BTW, there’s a lot more snow around Rocky than Edmonton. Lots more!


  10. 10
    Pat Boomer Says:

    Jeez that is cruel luck Dan
    A nippy one out there this morning!

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