Halifax man experiences harsh elements of winter doing snow removal

By Stephen Macdonald
March 7, 2014

A Halifax man who has been doing snow removal for the last two years says he looks forward to spring.
Johnathon Walker knows what it’s like to endure the cold after working in the winter doing snow removal for the last two winters. First he, worked with Changing Seasons in the winter of 2012 and 2013, than started with Cypress Landscaping in the summer of 2013.
The company does both landscaping in the spring and summer, and snow removal in the winter. But spring is better for the weather and regular hours, Walker said.
“I look forward to spring because it’s consistent hours and there’s routine. In winter you’re all over the place.”
But those are the bad parts, the lack of regular hours until a storm hits, then the number of hours you have to work when a storm does happen, said Walker.
“It’s hard if I only got a few hours sleep before I’m back to work because there was another storm. But then I may not work for a week, the inconsistency of the hours we work sucks.”
But the cold isn’t an issue, there is preparation for that, said Walker.
“I personally like working in the snow. I have snow gear so the cold doesn’t really bother me. I found because it was colder the snow was lighter which makes things easier.”
As much as you get used to the cold, this year was different, said Walker.
“I guess I’m just used to the snow and cold, I’ve been out in it every day for the past few years. But I found this year more of a dryer cold than last year. Last year was really wet.”
Bob Robichaud, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, agreed it has been a dry cold with lower temperatures in some areas than on average, but it has been wet with plenty of precipitation, he said.
“It’s been a little colder than average in some areas. Down along the south shore of Nova Scotia temperatures were on average with past years, but places like P.E.I. have seen colder temperatures and plenty of snow.”
“The average snowfall for P.E.I. is 218 cm, but the Charlottetown airport recorded 270 cm this year.”
Some places in the Maritimes have seen even more snow, said Robichaud.
“Other Maritime locations have had higher amounts, the Sydney airport recorded 303 cm.”
The large snowfalls can be attributed to storm tracks, said Robichaud.
“Basically it’s been the storm tracking, whenever we get a storm tracking going south of the Maritimes we get more snow and that’s been happening a lot this winter.”
The amount of snow still to come is hard to predict, but meteorologists are suggesting colder than average temperatures to continue for months to come, said Robichaud.
“We can’t track precipitation as easily, but it’s looking like some of our longer term models are forecasting lower than average temperatures for the next three months. There may be some periods where it seems to warm up, but overall each day will be colder than the average in years past.”
A place like P.E.I., where the island is surrounded by water, may feel colder than what the temperature actually is, so again your location will contribute to how cold it feels, and for how long, said Robichaud.
“The water takes longer to warm up, which result’s in a colder landmass. Even if you have a warm temperature, the cold air blowing off the water will make it feel colder.”