Recent cold temperatures are hardly unprecedented

Re. the Advocate’s Dec. 15 front-page story, headlined Chilled to the bone: The last several days have seen some pretty harsh weather, worse than we have experienced in the past several years. However, speaking as a historian, it is difficult to describe the conditions as truly record breaking or unprecedented.

Re. the Advocate’s Dec. 15 front-page story, headlined Chilled to the bone:

The last several days have seen some pretty harsh weather, worse than we have experienced in the past several years. However, speaking as a historian, it is difficult to describe the conditions as truly record breaking or unprecedented.

For example, the blizzard which struck Red Deer on Dec. 14 and 15, 1964, was literally life-threatening.

The storm began on Monday, Dec. 14, with wind chill factors reaching -40C.

Overnight, conditions turned much worse.

By morning, temperatures had plunged to -35C with winds gusting up to 70 km/h.

That created wind chills factors at an astonishing -73C, the worst ever recorded in Alberta.

With the resulting huge surge in natural gas consumption, gas pressure began to drop.

Some people’s furnaces began to go out.

There were tragedies from the storm.

Clem Trimming, a resident in North Red Deer, was found frozen to death in his house after his heater went out.

A woman in Edmonton was found frozen to death in a parking lot after she fell and no one initially noticed her on the ground.

Another very brutal blizzard struck on Dec. 13, 1924.

Nearly 60 cm of snow fell in three days and high winds created enormous drifts.

By Dec. 15, temperatures plunged to -46.1C and the following two days dropped even further to more than -50C.

It was difficult to tell what the actual temperature was in the city as most thermometers stopped working.

Towards the end of the week, things had improved slightly.

On Dec. 18, the low for the day was only -45.6C.

So, while the weather has been miserable this year, it is not unprecedented.

And, as we are now experiencing, eventually a nice chinook comes along.

Michael Dawe

Red Deer

Just Posted

BREAKING: Delburne man found not guilty in connection with 2016 fatal rollover

Daniel Wayne Newsham had been on trial for manslaughter

Loan officer accused of $1 million fraud to plead guilty

Accused allegedly forged customer names to get loans while working at Sylvan Lake bank

Red Deer to get new plan to end homelessness as problem persists

Despite some successes there’s ‘a long way to go,’ says manager

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Ottawa is spending $1.6 billion to help struggling energy companies stay afloat,… Continue reading

Canada ranks 16th on World Economic Forum’s annual gender gap list

TORONTO — Canada has landed the 16th spot in the World Economic… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Canada’s Kim McRae finishes seventh at luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada’s Kim McRae finished in seventh place at… Continue reading

Most Read