Monday, March 10, 2008

The Scope of Things Today

LEO (July 23 — Aug. 22)

The trouble with always having an eye to the main chance is that sometimes, you can miss out on potentially excellent minor chances. In focussing too hard on the biggest most obvious target, you may fail to spot a nearer, more subtle option.

GEMINI (May 21 — June 21)

Only you can swiftly make big, bold life-changing decisions one minute, then agonize about what jacket you should wear the next. Keep your eye on the big picture today and you'll see how to alter something small and rescue something big.

SCORPIO (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

In the current cosmic climate, you should be looking not so much for big answers, but for ways to ease the stress and tension. Try not to take a particular matter quite so seriously. The key is to lighten up. This will lift your mood and attract good luck.

PISCES (Feb. 20 — March 20)

Trouble insidiously enters life when we take the mundane too seriously. Existence then overflows with stupidity, chaos and insanity. Your challenge is to not let it get you down, especially now as your romantic life is about to get a boost.

No record, but 'our badge of weather courage'
AARON HARRIS/TORONTO STAR
Munroe Ferreia tackles the snow on his car with a shovel near Strachan Ave. and Adelaide St. March 9, 2008.

RECORDS

After Saturday's storm, Toronto is still 17.8 cms short of its all-time annual snowfall record. Other records at major city airports:




Environment Canada

March 10, 2008

Staff Reporter

Tired of shovelling all that snow, piling it up, driving around it, trudging through it, avoiding it?

But if you think you've had a tough time of it, dealing with the 15 to 40 centimetres of snow dumped on the GTA over the weekend, spare a thought for Ottawa, which got more than a half metre of snow, or Quebec, where winds gusting to 133 km/h forced even the police into abandoning their vehicles.

And thousands of homes in eastern Canada remain without light or heat today as hydro workers struggle to recover from the ravages of the storm that swept up from the Ohio Valley on Friday.

The picture's a little brighter in southern Ontario, where most of the GTA has shovelled itself out from under the weekend blanket of snow, and where things are slowly getting back to normal at Pearson airport and on the region's highways.

And even though we didn't set any snowfall records, Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips suggests we coped magnificently.

"My sense is that, in many ways, people are seeing this as our badge of weather courage," Phillips said. "They want to say we got through it ourselves without calling in the army."

The same weather system went on to create even more havoc in eastern Canada after it finished pummelling southern Ontario.

The Ottawa region, which recorded 52 centimetres of snow over the weekend, is only a storm or two and 34.6 centimetres away from matching the record 444.1 centimetres recorded in the winter of 1970-71, Environment Canada noted.

There wasn't much talk of breaking records in Quebec – most residents there were too busy dealing with the effects of the 25 to 35 centimetres of snow that fell on the province, and the snowdrifts whipped up by winds gusting to 133 km/h.

Scores of motorists were trapped on highways until Quebec provincial police officers on snowmobiles, along with members of local snowmobile clubs, sped to the rescue, police spokesperson Joyce Kemp said.

"Happily, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported."

As massive snowdrifts shut down highways from Ottawa to Quebec City and beyond, snow and ice accumulating on power lines left more than 80,000 homes across Quebec and Atlantic Canada without light or heat.

"This storm has crippled many areas, especially in eastern Ontario where the Ontario Provincial Police has resorted to using snowmobiles for transportation," Environment Canada reported in a special weather statement for Ontario, adding high winds in the region whipped up snowdrifts topping two metres.

In Nova Scotia, the snow combined with high winds and freezing rain to create an impassable winter wonderland.

"It was a serious storm here, the rain just (fell in) unbelievable amounts and the wind was really high," Nova Scotia Power spokesperson Glennie Langille said of the treacherous mix of precipitation that kept much of the province at a standstill over the weekend.

While there were no echoes of former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman and calls for the Canadian Army to help out, as infamously happened in 1999.

Toronto did roll out its own army of 1,600 workers, 600 street plows, 300 sidewalk plows and 200 salt trucks.

By early yesterday the city's main roads had received four passes from the snow plows, and smaller side streets – many still blocked by wind-whipped snowdrifts – are currently being cleared.

And, while local police and the OPP reported nearly 1,700 weather-related accidents on snow-clogged roads, most were minor.

Score one for the drivers.

OPP Const. Dave Woodford, who has spent 25 years patrolling Ontario highways, said he's never seen anything like it.

"It was so bad out there I had to pull off the road at one point, and I was travelling at 20 km/h," the veteran highway patrol cop said.

"I drive for a living, I'm on the road 12 hours or more a day every day, and that's the worst I've seen the roads in my policing career – we just couldn't keep up."

As for setting records, Toronto remains 17.8 centimetres short of the all-time snowiest winter in recorded history, when 207.4 centimetres fell during the winter of 1938-39.

But don't give up hope.

There's still a month or so of winter weather to go.

With files from Daniel Girard, Josh Wingrove and The Canadian Press



No record, but 'our badge of weather courage'

St. John's
648.4 cm
2000-01

Charlottetown
539 cm
1971-72

Moncton
533.1 cm
1974-75

Halifax
475.1 cm
1970-71

Ottawa
444.6 cm
1970-71

Montreal
383.3 cm
1970-71

Winnipeg
253.8 cm
1955-56

Edmonton
228 cm
1964-65

Toronto
207.4 cm
1938-39

Victoria
196 cm
1915-16

Regina
194.8 cm
1955-56

Vancouver
186.9 cm
1970-71

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