Alberta Foothills Weather

December 20 – Hello Winter

I’ve been wanting to get a post going all week, but it’s been too nice out to be in and with x-mas quickly approaching, the rush seems to be on.
A nice week around here, but not as warm as our neighbors to the south. We didn’t make it above the freezing mark this week but you could see the warm just west and south of here, Calgary got to play in +8C for a few days. No new snow here but hoping for a few flakes over the next couple days.
Got out for the first few runs of the year on the cats this week, there is just enough snow to make it fun, another 15cm and we are in sled heaven.

A few interesting stories going around this week, starting with the poor buggers in southeast Edmonton who got the short end last Sunday night when a major malfunction left 360 homes without power for 12 hours in -30C temps.
Then the young lad who had a nip at the tavern in Wetaskiwin before hopping on a slow moving freight train for a ride home, only to find himself stuck on a now speeding train in -20C temps.
The last interesting tidbit was the electricity usage during the cold snap. During the peak, records fell and Alberta used 10.2 gigawatts of juice, Edmonton eating almost enough to go back to the future, about 1.02GW, Red Deer needing 139 megawatts to keep the block heaters heating and furnace blowers blowing.
This got me digging around to see just how much power is available and where it comes from, which led to far too many hours of learning. Turns out we have an extra 2GW of power laying around for export so we weren’t on the edge, but other more interesting facts arose.
We have a monster coal fired power plant 70km southwest of Edmonton called Sundance. This beast generates over 2GW of electricity by itself and eats somewhere around 10 million tonnes of coal a year to do it, spewing 16 millions tonnes of CO2 into the greenhouse. This one plant emits the same amount of CO2 in a year as the entire country of Ecuador. Between Sundance and the Keephills plant across the road, they share 13.8mt of coal from the same mine, generating 2892mw of electricity and 22mt of CO2 a year. Dirty power or what!

This is likely the last post until after Xmas, unless something interesting happens,
so have a very merry and safe Christmas.

Chinook arch over southwestern Alberta - Dec.16, 2009
Temperature inversion - Dec.16, 2009Chinook temperatures arrive in Southwestern Alberta - Dec.15, 2009Trying to melt - Dec.17, 2009
Great Horned Owl shopping for lunch - Dec.17, 2009Autumn 2006-2009 comparisonSammy takes the first chew of the year - Dec.18, 2009

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