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At this time of year that it is was snowing last night is not a very remarkable. Snow would be expected by many people in many places about now. We are in the latter part of November. Although it is not officially winter until December, in many locations in the northern hemisphere around the world, it snows at this time of year. It snows in the winter.

That it is snowing is unusual because I am speaking about it snowing in Vancouver B.C. I am not talking about North Vancouver, the lower mainland or Vancouver Island but Vancouver city proper and snow in the city is not that common. Weather forecasts, reports, statistics and trends for Vancouver cover a broad area and therefore relying on these can be pretty misleading. I don’t mind it at all when the weather forecasts rain or snow and we have a dry relatively sunny day in my area of town. Calls from friends and family in other areas of the country asking about our bad weather are normally a surprise to me and are corrected with a description of the real picture of the weather, which is usually beautiful.

Back to the snow. That it was snowing last night is a big deal. The newspapers have warnings about the freezing cold, treacherous driving, black ice and other scary things.

There is more than a dusting of snow on the North Shore Mountains and the ski hills are all open to skiers and snowboarders delight. Observing the reaction to the arrival of snow in Vancouver City proper is interesting. It is as if the countless people who used to live in the other areas of Canada that have snow as a regular feature of every winter are suffering from memory loss. They react as if they have never seen it before or perhaps they are trying to forget.

snowmen don't have a chance in Vancouver

Vancouver city typically gets a least one big snowfall every winter and there have been snowfalls that have crippled the city. My son, husband and I spent three (yes 3) days waiting for a flight to Edmonton at the Vancouver Airport in a major snowstorm in November 2006. Then there was the Christmas of 2008 when many people could not get to wherever they were going for Christmas or arrive in Vancouver because of the snow. Both of these storms were extraordinary but perhaps are what people here think about when they hear it is going to or it has started to snow.


prairie snow scene

It was raining last night as I walked to a local gallery to listen to a friend speak. Two hours later as I opened the door to leave I stepped into snow. A miniscule amount lay on the more-wet-than-snowy sidewalks but big fluffy flakes were falling from the sky. Wow! I flipped open my umbrella and began my walk home. Two blocks or so into my journey I started to chuckle to myself. It was snowing and I was using an umbrella!When in my many years in Edmonton winters did I ever use an umbrella when it was snowing? I looked around and noticed that I was not the only one with an umbrella and realized that this was probably common practice here in Vancouver. I guess my natural tendency to pop-up the umbrella was an indication that I am adapting to my new city.

By the time I arrived home, several blocks away, the nice fluffy flakes had turned into wet sopping rain, not as pleasant as the flakes. (Did I just infer that snow is pleasant? Ouch!)

A light dusting of snow lay on the soccer fields in the morning but that was the only evidence of our snowfall. During my walk to the office I heard many people commenting on the “SNOW” and had to smile knowing that in many places in the country they actually have real snow! The warnings are still out…expect cold, snow and downright miserable conditions. We’ll see. So far so good!

Stay warm wherever you are!

Irene McDermott © 2011