The buzz is we are going to have a cold snap the like we have not seen before. Really……. I am willing to bet some older folks remember some very cold winters in the past. For those more recent arrivals to the valley, you have been living in a false winter paradise.
Our family moved to the Central Okanagan in nineteen forty-eight. The winters of 1950 and 51 were severe to say the least. The spring of 1950 saw temperatures so cold they froze the tree roots and nearly wiped out the tree fruit industry.
I remember old timers of the day reminiscing about the days when one could drive a car across the frozen Okanagan Lake. The subject came up in 1956 because the lake froze over causing problems for the lakes ferry operations. I was ten that year. It was also a harsh year for flying. Four Saskatchewan Roughriders and one Winnipeg Blue Bomber were among the passengers of a Trans Canada Airlines Plane that went down in bad weather in the BC mountains.
The reverse was true in 1958 when we were blessed with a number of Chinooks and visits by a warm air system we call the pineapple express.
Want to talk about cold and snow? Try to remember the winters of 1964 and the cold one in 1968. both saw ice on Okanagan and on Kalamalka Lake as well. I particularly liked Kal Lake freezing and here’s why. What you see as a green bottom on Kal lake is really not from a green bottom at all. The bottom is really composed of a gray glacial silt that reflects back as green.
I know because we had beach front on Kal Lake at Oyama, the reason I mention it is because on a cold winter night we played hockey on the ice. The full moons light reflected from the lake bottom and it was like playing in a lit arena.
We got some pretty standard winters after that without much variation until the snow year of 1996. The snow came early and stayed so long many thought spring would be canceled.
For those cursing the snow keep in mind the fluffy white stuff is natures blanket protecting tree roots and sleeping outdoor plants, it also provides for enterprising folks who can print up T Shirts saying “I survived the frozen Okanagan winter of 2020.
Two important chores to take care of. Make sure your furnace is ready for the extra load and protect against frozen pipes.
Ok, get out your toque and gloves, it’s gonna get cold eh?