In Shakespeare’s, Much Ado About Nothing, Leonato tells Beatrice that she will never fall in love. In agreement, she tells him that she will “in a hot January.” This fictional character did find love, and a hot January did occur, centuries later. Shakespeare clearly meant the phrase to be akin to “when pigs fly.” He viewed this situation as completely unimaginable in his hemisphere, as well he should have. However, it is indeed a hot January in Calgary. The last few days have seen people wearing shorts and t-shirts. It has been a nice 17ºC (62ºF), which is certainly quite warm (for Canadians.) In stark contrast, three eastern states have imposed a road travel ban due to a Noreaster. New York had gone so far as to declare a state of emergency. New York was expecting between two and three feet of snow (66-100cm.) When Toronto was hit with such a massive snowstorm a number of years ago, they needed the help of the National Guard to clear all the snow, and like New York, they were well equipped to deal with it. As it turns out, they are getting substantially less than what they expected, but it is still a major snowstorm. Having said that, the travel bans imposed earlier today have been lifted.
Minneapolis, and St. Paul, Minnesota are not getting enough snow. They have only received about a third of their usual snowfall for the year. Snow is an important source of water for the watershed, so a snow drought portends drought in the coming seasons. Snow typically melts and is carried into drainage basins. These drainage basins often feed rivers, which cause drought conditions when they run low. The lack of snow here would affect the east coast, so we should watch for drought conditions there to develop. It will also likely cause problems with agriculture. During the winter, farmers store snow in sheds, which later becomes precious water for their crops.
While in Calgary, we are enjoying record shattering temperatures, (the previous record for Sunday was 13ºC (55ºF), this is not the case in Australia. Temperatures there have soared past 50ºC (over 120ºF). For comparison, the government regulated holding temperature for hot food is only 10ºC (18ºF) more. These record shattering high temperatures in the 50ºs (120ºs F)are often fatal for the elderly in particular, who do not feel symptoms of dehydration as easily as their younger counterparts. However, even younger people who are exercising in such extreme heat have been known to fall victim to heat injuries like heat stroke and heat exhaustion, both of which can be fatal. Those who take certain medications or use caffeine or alcohol are more vulnerable to heat stroke.
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