Monday, February 14, 2011

Weather Forecasters Eat Crow

For two weekends in a row our weather experts have missed forecasting significant weather and we received unexpected snowfalls. Fail!

On Groundhog Day we were told we were going to be hit by the biggest winter storm in three years and many places closed in anticipation of the bad weather coming our way from the American midwest. It missed us.

This Saturday we planned to travel 100 km west to visit our daughter for the day. We were supposed to get a dusting of snow overnight but awoke to several fresh centimetres and gusty winds. I checked online satellite pictures which showed a narrow band of flurries coming toward our city from Lake Huron. The area around was clear and our daughter assured us it was sunny at her place.

We set out on snow-covered roads and the divided four lane highway was only track bare. But visibility was good, the sky was clearing and traffic was light. As we continued west, the gusts of wind picked up and blew snow across the pavement but travel was still reasonably safe.

Half way to London, we came upon a large murder of crows. They lined the roadway, filled the trees and covered a parking lot. I have never seen so many crows in one place. And just as we passed them, the weather turned wickedly dangerous with heavy snow and wind. There was nowhere to stop, no place to turn around and had I stopped, the car would have been stuck. The Becka started the GPS unit to help us navigate and I followed hydro poles along the roadway.

We didn't drive out of the snow streamer for over 30 km and I was very, very thankful for four wheel drive even though it drops my gas mileage in a big way. My family in the north of Mexico and in the UAE experience sudden sandstorms which are equally unexpected and dangerous.  Here, we have had so much snow this winter that snowbanks in the country are higher than most vehicles. Wind gusts decrease visibility at eye level even if it is not snowing.

We finally reached our destination safely and the sun was shining brightly. My daughter and I walked along the Thames River at Greenway Park where the discharge from a water treatment plant keeps ice from forming. I didn't see a single crow, but there were Mergansers, Bufflehead, Goldeneye, Longtail, Black and Mallard Ducks on the river along with two Bald Eagles overhead. And did I mention Canada Geese?

The trail was plowed but no one bothered to clear the park benches. I think we have had enough snow for a winter and no one will convince me that global warming is a reality around here. We brought our aging dog along and he was less than impressed with being sent outside to do his business in snow that was a deep as he is high. His look coming back to the house summed up my feelings concerning three and a half months of winter...with at least another month to go.

 I continue to listen the weather forecasts with some scepticism, but if there is another murder of crows along the highway, I will seriously consider a U-turn or a full stop. Perhaps the weather forecasters need to get away from their computers and tracking systems once in a while and learn to talk crow rather than eat crow.


  1. Weather forecasters get it wrong more often than not.Driving in blizzard conditions is dangerous and no fun.I did just that a few weeks ago,and don't want to do it again.Glad you arrived safely.

  2. I would hate to be a weather forecaster. Seems a better idea to listen to the crows. Glad you made it safely.

  3. Glad you arrived safe and sound. I hate driving in inclement weather!! Interesting about the crows. And no, I find the more technologically advanced we become, the worse the weather forecasters are.

  4. Hurray for trusty vehicles that carry us through snow.
    As for global warming--it really should be called global climate change. I think we can all agree we are seeing some significant climate change. This winter the polar cold air masses shifted further south than usual, and drew excess moisture up from the Gulf of Mexico, which is why so much of the North American land mass got the amounts of snow it did. Meanwhile--places like Alaska were warmer than normal. Also Russia. So, despite your snow, it is a sign of global (warming) climate change.

  5. Oh my Ruth! I was white knuckled behind your steering wheel with you there. Gosh, I would have just parked my car and cried.... lol! I'm not a snow and ice girl, no matter how much "plowing" has taken place. So glad you all got there safe and sound.

  6. Maybe the weathermen need a flash course update taught by crows! Overall our winter hasn't been too bad (in my opinion)...but the I agree the snow banks are tall and dangerous. They are hard to see around a corner and I think of all those little children walking to school having to step out in traffic to see any cars coming. But I'm happy you got to see your daughter and arrive there and back safely.

  7. It was the reverse here: snow was expected but didn't materialize. Go figure.

  8. Glad you made it to your destination. Sometimes animals are far smarter than humans about the weather.

  9. You've put a humorous touch on a very dangerous situation. I am so glad that you are safe and the crows were not forcasting your demise! I see now that you are as sick of the snow as I am. Never fear, spring will come and I may even move back to AZ later this year and send you warm and sunny pictures from there once again!

  10. I've never heard this expression!
    " . .a large murder of crows . ."
    I'm running right over to google:0)

    On a heavier note: I hate and detest driving in bad weather.

    At least if a sandstorm stops you dead in your tracks - you won't freeze to death.

  11. So you do get snow in Canada? I thought we only get it down here.Seems like you have a nice variety of winter waterfowl too.


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