Mini baby boom in P.E.I. after record snow

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on December 30, 2015

Too much snow is being able to step onto the roof of my house without a ladder.

Too much snow is a daily conversation with the local Environment Canada meteorologist over the course of two winter months.

Too much snow is having to dig down for Canada Post mailbox on the Trans-Canada Highway.

I could go on, but you know how it goes.

Every Islander remembers the winter of 2014-15.

It got so bad that many people, including weather forecasters and snowplow managers, were cheering to break the record when P.E.I. was a mere 10 centimetres away from setting a new benchmark, even though we were exhausted from all the shovelling and blowing, and creeping around the corner of every intersection wincing because you couldn't see oncoming traffic.

The Guardian selected the epic snowfall as its News Story of the Year.

RELATED: Record snowfall for P.E.I. named The Guardian's news story of the year

Wayne Thibodeau, managing editor of The Guardian, said there was no shortage of major stories considered, pointing to the major political upset that saw Canadians toss out the Stephen Harper Conservatives to the spike in the number of tragedies on Island roads to the threat to Island potato producers as potato after potato was found with needles inserted into them.

"But 2015 will be remembered for one story and one story alone,'' said Thibodeau.

"Years - even decades from now - we will be talking about the winter wallop that just would not let go. Prince Edward Island was paralyzed by snow over and over again. There was no question in the minds of The Guardian's editorial board.

"The winter from hell was far and away the top News Story of the Year for 2015.''

Approximately 400 of the 551 centimetres measured at the Charlottetown Airport fell in just two months, February and March.

CLICK HERE FOR AN INTERACTIVE LOOK AT LAST WINTER'S SNOW

It was so relentless that Island students across the province got an extra two weeks of vacation with all the storm cancellations.

The English Language School Board recorded 13 missed days over the winter.

Only once in the past 15 years have classes provincewide been shut down that often.

That was in 2003-04.

For the record, the French Language School Board's numbers are the same.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE NUMBER OF MISSED SCHOOL DAYS IN RECENT YEARS

Speaking of children, all those storm days may have helped boost the province's population numbers.

While there is obviously no scientific data to prove an increase in snowstorms is directly related to an increase in pregnancies, Health P.E.I.'s numbers comparing 2014 to 2015 do show one interesting change.

Birthrates in P.E.I. hospitals between August and December dropped between 2014 and 2015 in every month except one — November.

There were 96 babies born in November this year compared to 87 in November 2014.

CLICK HERE TO SEE BIRTH RATES FROM 2014 AND 2015

Wind the clock back nine months and you get February, when all that snow really began.

Take from that what you will.

It's also still a conversation piece.

Charlottetown businessman Ray Martin said he remembers not being able get out of his house and when he did he needed snowshoes to get around "until one broke and I sunk up to my waist in snow. That'll wake a man up,'' he said with a hearty laugh.

People showed me videos they still have on their smartphones of snowplows literally taking repeated runs at walls of snow on their streets.

It even leaves an impression on those who fly south to get away from winter.

"I remember leaving for Mexico and there was no snow on the ground. When I got back you couldn't see anything. I was gone a week,'' said Jeremy Vessey of Charlottetown.

There are people who love snow and those who hate it.

But everyone I talk to seems to agree on one key point.

No one wants a repeat of last winter.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Missed school days

2000-01 - Eastern School District, 8; Western School Board, 7

2001-02 - Eastern, 5; Western, 3

2002-03 - Eastern, 6; Western, 5

2003-04 - Eastern, 13; Western, 13

2004-05 - Eastern, 6; Western, 5

2005-06 - Eastern, 5; Western, 5

2006-07 - Eastern, 3; Western, 1

2007-08 - Eastern, 7; Western, 11

2008-09 - Eastern, 8; Western, 13

2009-10 - Eastern, 5; Western, 6

2010-11 - Eastern, 4; Western, 7

2011-12 - Eastern, 2; Western, 2

2012-13 - English Language School Board, 2

2013-14 - 12

2014-15 - 13

* Notes: French Language School Board told The Guardian their storm days would be included in the numbers above.

In February 2013, the Eastern School District and Western School Board amalgamated and became the English Language School Board.

Following are birthrates in P.E.I. hospitals in 2014 and 2015:

107 - August 2014

93 - August 2015

 

115 - September 2014

110 - September 2015

 

99 - October 2014

88 - October 2015

 

87 - November 2014

96 - November 2015

 

89 - December 2014

76 - December 2015 -(Up to Dec. 21)