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Updated: 5th September 2018 20:07

If you think winter has been particularly harsh this year — you're right

Calgarians have seen more than double the usual amount of snow so far in February — and that's just one sign that winter has been tougher than usual.

City has already received double the normal monthly snowfall in first weeks of February

Daniel Suasnavart Luna sent in this photo of how high the snow was after shovelling. (Submitted by Daniel Suasnavart Luna)

Calgarians who think this winter has been particularly bad in terms of snow and cold aren't alone.

And they aren't wrong.

"It's very unusual. Calgary does generally have a little more of an arid climate," CBC meteorologist Christy Climenhaga told the Calgary Eyeopener on Monday.

"In the last week, over 20 centimetres of snowfall. In the month so far, you've had about 36 centimetres. And to put that in perspective, usually in February you'd only see about 14.5 centimetres. So you're already more than double your usual monthly amount of snow."

The city has also seen its share of cold, with the mercury dipping around the –29 C mark in recent days, which felt like –40 C or colder with windchill factored in.

Some of that is the result of the city receiving fewer chinooks than usual.

"It has been a little bit of a different year on that end. Usually you get 30 to 45 a year, that's the average," said Climenhaga. "You had one in early January after the deep freeze of winter, but as we have been watching the setup in the atmosphere, it's actually been an incredible winter with the amount of cold weather the West has been seeing."

A "polar vortex" has been sitting unseasonably south, said Climenhaga, which is pulling cold air overtop of the Prairies.

"And Alberta has been right on the edge of the jetstream pulling down that cooler weather," she said. "It's been a different winter."

Bess, a four-month-old German shepherd, plays in the snow while on a walk with Susan Smith. (Submitted by Susan Smith)

The cold has been enough to even keep some dogs indoors, professional walker Susan Smith told the Eyeopener.

"They love to play in the snow but they don't like the cold," she said of her canine clients.

"They stop and want me to pick them up and put them back where it's warm. It is bad. And the snow has never been this deep before."

Not everyone is unhappy with the snow, however.

Alasdair Fergusson is the head track-setter with the Calgary Ski Club at Shaganappi Golf Course and says this year has been the best in recent memory.

Alasdair Fergusson, the head track-setter with the Calgary Ski Club at Shaganappi Golf Course, says conditions this year have been among the best in recent memory. (CBC)

"I've been a grooming and track-setting in Shaganappi for 31 years and I have no recollection of the 35 centimetres of snow I measured at Shaganappi coming down over a two-day period," he said.

"And the crowds were out. To count in excess of 70 cars in the parking lot at nine o'clock on the morning … and 75 or 76 cars at three o'clock in the afternoon… it was very, very popular on Saturday."

The snow has been more than welcome, but not the cold, said Fergusson.

"We have a limit for safety purposes both for equipment and for humans of –18 C," he said.

A welcome reprieve from the cold arrived Monday afternoon as the temperature rose from a bone chilling –29 C in the early morning hours to about –8 C by lunchtime.


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

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