Top News

ANDREA MACEACHERN: The changing weather

These days, the water at New Bridge is bare of ice more times than not. CONTRIBUTED
These days, the water at New Bridge is bare of ice more times than not. CONTRIBUTED

The weather changed a lot in a few short weeks but it could be worse, we could be in Newfoundland.

Actually, I shouldn't say that — following the news about the province's record-breaking blizzard made me want to hop on a plane.

Andrea MacEachern
Andrea MacEachern

Videos of grown adults making snow forts and making the best out of almost 80 centimetres of snow reminded me of the good ol' fashioned blizzards of my younger years in St. John's.

Only Newfoundlanders would be able to turn something the rest of the country would face with horror into a giant playground. Well done, Newfoundland.

Bad weather is expected this time of year but I think many were hoping for a winter like last year. Climate change is a hot topic around the world but for folks in Atlantic Canada, the wintery weather certainly doesn't make it seem like the Earth is warming.

In some ways, it seems like our weather has remained the same over the years despite the catastrophic changes elsewhere. However, a look at the bigger picture shows that we've had our fair share of severe weather events as well — not on the same scale as other places around the world, but certainly notable.

With recent events going on around the world that are being blamed on climate change, we are quick to sit back and think it's just something happening elsewhere.

Destructive fires, catastrophic floods, record-breaking storms and extreme heatwaves are plaguing many places but what about our little corner of the world?

In past years, the ice near New Bridge would be full of these fishing huts. CONTRIBUTED
In past years, the ice near New Bridge would be full of these fishing huts. CONTRIBUTED

Look closely around New Waterford and surrounding areas. We've experienced changes too and they've left a mark on the landscape that's hard to ignore.

When I think back to my childhood, I see the differences. I can remember sledding on the hill in front of the house in November and snowsuits under Halloween costumes. The snowbanks got so high, we built snow forts with multiple rooms and even furnished them with patio furniture.

When was the last time we had a true white Christmas? And how often do you see people ice fishing at the New Bridge which was once a colourful little village for several weeks every winter? These things aren't as common as they were 30 years ago.

Going back a few more generations, I hear things like "I used to walk to school in blizzards alongside the tops of the power poles."

I've been told that driving cars and racing horses on the frozen bay at River Ryan was a thing and the MV William Carson, which used to sail between North Sydney and Newfoundland, would be stuck in the ice for a week or more. Now, the drift ice doesn't stay around very long, if it even comes in at all.

If we take the stories of past generations into account, our winters don't seem to be as bad as they used to be despite the frequency of the storms we've had so far this winter.

In recent years, temperatures in mid-October have reached the low-20s. I recall swimming at Inverness Beach only a day or two before the big fall storm of October 2016. Speaking of storms, don't they seem to be getting worse?

When I first moved back to New Waterford, I walked along Dominion Beach almost every day. After a while, I knew that beach inside and out. I knew every dune, path and rock on that stretch.

Seemingly overnight, the beach became unrecognizable. It doesn't look like the gently windswept, sandy stretch it once was. Now there are so many boulders and pits that it's almost impossible to walk without twisting an ankle.

I fear that these storms will continue to damage the sandbar to a point where it will no longer be feasible to maintain it.

I personally believe that climate change is a real thing and it's caused by natural cycles of the planet sped along with our help. But that's a heated debate best saved for another time.

The best we can do is go with the flow while doing our part to minimize the effect our actions have on the planet.

No more plastic bags at Sobeys is a huge start, now let's see how many of us can take the challenge of using reusable mugs to reduce the number of those unsightly coffee cups in the ditches.

Andrea MacEachern was born and raised on the beautiful bay of Lingan. After a decade-long hiatus from the island, she returned to her roots and settled in downtown New Waterford where she enjoys blogging, writing, taking pictures, travelling, walking The Loop and spending much of her time outdoors exploring Cape Breton. If you have a story or event you would like to share, she can be reached at maceachernandrea@gmail.com.

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories