Friday, 27 December 2013


It's raining, the sky a dull grey, heavy drops blown by the wind, bouncing off the branches of the trees outside, hanging on in driplets at each junction, each new shoot from the edges of the trees now barren of their leaves. Almost barren; a few of these leaves, long browned and dead, still cling in pantomime of life, holding on until the last great storm of winter shakes them from their precarious perch. The wind pushes the branches back and forth, both the evergreen and the no longer green, a mixed play of deep emerald and barren birch.

This is the dull day of winter here in Vancouver, the winter wet that descends on the coast in November and stays, locked against the mountains, until the warmth of spring dries the air and rocks along the ocean's edge. This is the dull day of winter on the coast, where the cool, moist air rolls off the great Pacific sea, hitting the steep slopes of the Coast range, unloading what moisture it can and then rising over the mountain tops to settle snow along the interior mountains and highlands of BC.

This same weather here drives the Chinooks that settle into Alberta, the warm air rising high across the Rockies, unloading its precipitation and then lightened and yet still warm, tumbling down onto the western plains of southern Alberta. The air, relieved of its weight of wet, brings clear skies and rushing winds, gathering speed as it flows and blows down the thousands of feet along the mountain slopes, bursting through the foothills and slamming into Calgary, reaching highway speeds along its journey. That warm wetness of Vancouver becomes the warm, windy, dryness of Calgary, pushing temperatures up and driving the snows before it.

Weather is a funny thing, systems in one region driving systems in another. Weather on the coast affects weather in southern Alberta, building the battle between the icy arctic air flowing down the plains and the warmth of these Pacific patterns. Systems, all interconnected, impact our lives in so many ways. Nothing happens without impacting other things. It's true in weather, and in life.

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