As you can imagine, after three weeks in Hawaii (more blogs about that to follow, I promise!), coming home to a Canadian winter was quite a shock to the system. Especially when the weather had an extra treat for us this weekend, a present from Texas, apparently.
Most people get the totally wrong impression when you talk about freezing rain. They think of sleet, something somewhere between rain and snow, or perhaps hail. “I’ve seen freezing rain loads of times,” they say. But genuine freezing rain is something far more rare, and much more dangerous. You need very particular and unusual conditions for freezing rain.
We all know that the higher you go, the cooler it gets. But on very rare occasions this can be partially reversed. Even more rarely, the layer of air closest to the ground can be below freezing, while the air higher up is above freezing. In such extraordinary conditions, any rain falling from the warmer upper level into the colder lower level, instantly turns to ice the moment it touches anything. This is freezing rain. And it produces a sheet of slick, treacherous ice on everything… roads, cars, roofs, trees… even on animals and people, if they’re caught out in it!
In addition to the obvious slipperiness that comes with everything being coated with ice, there are the hazards associated with its weight. After all, an inch or more of ice weighs an awful lot, and can easily bring down tree branches and power lines. Today, the whole of southern Ontario is littered with downed trees. And over the weekend, tens of thousands of homes (including that of my friend Phyllis) lost electricity. In fact, crews are still working hard to restore power to a few thousand.
By these standards, the storm’s effects on this little Giraffeses were relatively minor. Yes, it stopped us going to a Christmas party in Ohio with friends, but at least we’re safe. Yes, we lost contact with the outside world (phone, internet and cable) for a few hours on Sunday, but at least our power stayed on, so we remained warm throughout. And yes, some of the trees in the back garden took a bit of a beating, but nothing that time won’t heal.
All in all, I have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas… and some exciting news for all of you who enjoy Rich’s Jaspa’s Journey books. So stay tuned!
Below is a video of the ice falling off the trees in the back garden in the wind: