Moose Javians are presently contending with what could be a record amount of snow on the ground at this time of year, according to David Phillips, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist.
“The total snowfall in Moose Jaw that I have is 147 cm of snow. That’s how much that has fallen since October, when the snow began to fall,” said Phillips. “Normal, for up to this time in March, would be about 96 cm of snow. So you’ve had 50 per cent more than your normal snowfall already.”
Phillips said the science of measuring snowfall is not exact at best.
“We’re fooling ourselves if we think we have the right numbers here because it’s hard to measure snowfall,” he said. “It blows, it drifts, it melts, it sublimates and evaporates. Everything happens to it.”
For Phillips, a far more accurate measurement of how hard a winter has been is the amount of snow on the ground — which, he said, “is pretty bad.”
“What we’re seeing right now is 63 cm of snow on the ground. This is the stuff that has fallen (Sunday, Monday) and right back since Halloween,” Phillips said. “If you go in the back yard and stick a ruler in the snow, that’s what you’ve got.”
Phillips said the recent snowfalls have “just added to it” and that it is “the most that you’ve had (on the ground) all winter.”
“By this time, you should have subtracted from it. It should be going down,” he said. “You’ve got to get rid of 63 cm of snow, and that’s clearly creating some worries and concerns about flooding.”
The situation is further exacerbated by the lack of upcoming melting temperatures, said Phillips.
“The good news is that, while you won’t see anymore snow this week, you’re certainly not going to get rid of any this week,” he noted.
“You need to have maple syrup kind of weather — minus 5 to (plus) 5 would be ideal. You don’t grow maple trees out there, but you need the weather,” said Phillips.
“Eventually, summer will be here, and if you’re holding on to all of that snow and that frozen ground, that’s not a good situation.
“It could very well be that what you’re staring at out the window could be an all-time (record),” he said. “You’re dealing with a lot more snow on the ground (than usual). You’re behind schedule for the melt, and that’s the concern ... If it doesn’t go fast, it’s going to go gradually, and that’s the issue.”