A personal view of Knowlton, Quebec, the Eastern Townships most beautiful village.

Snow Storm Is Townships Record
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Knowlton residents found snow up to their chests and the traditional Canadian winter sport known as the 100 meter snow dig begins again!The record snowfall of over two feet signalled the start of that great Canadian Olympic sport: the 100 yard snow shovel race as participants tried to find their way to their buried cars and the doors to their homes. As usual, the snow shovelling event always takes place with bitter windchills and in zero visibility that is typical for a Quebec snowstorm!

Finally, Saturday the sun started to shine again and the skies are clearing giving blizzard-weary resident of the Eastern Townships a break from the tremendous snowfall that hit on Valentines day. Over 65 cm of snow have fallen in the last few days in the Lac Brome breaking snowfall records in the area and while we were not alone in seeing record snowfalls we were still taken aback by the ferocity of the storm.

Such accumulations hadn’t been seen in over a decade. The storm hit quickly and with decisiveness. The blinding snow squalls were moving in from the south west and as we watched the Weather Network to see our fellow Canadians being buried under a thick frozen blanket it was all we could do but make sure there was wood in the pile and a supplies of fresh food at home as we braced for the worst. When the storm hit it quickly created white-out conditions and wind and heavy snow quickly piled, drifted and made driving treacherous.

Cars buried by snow in downtown KnowltonCars buried deep under snow sat looking forlorn as the streets took on a deserted look. The CTV TV news did a report right in front of Panissimo on main street showing the snow drifting right up the staircase to the main door. WThe town may have been deserted but at least we made the news!!

Knowlton was basically shutdown on Thursday as many of the stores saw snow drifting up as high as their second floor windows and snowplows could barely keep up with the workload. The roads were extremely dangerous as visibility was reduced to zero and the accumulations of snow made driving next to impossible. Cars were either buried in snow or were swerving wildly down slippery roads and when the night ended and people finally could open their doors it was unbelievable the sheer volume of snow that had accumulated.

The highways and roads saw their usual share of cars rolled in the ditch and even abandoned literally where they got stock as towtrucks were in short supply and snowplows seemed to be an elusive species! Most residents have spent hours shoveling and grappling with snow blowers for the last two days and with the warming les windy temperatures today it seems almost beautiful again!

The storm in Quebec and here in Knowlton was not as impressive as it was down in New York but still it was one we will not soon forget especially since many of us had a particularly unforgettable Valentines evening. Most schools were closed as the pre-warning of the storms arrival allowed most schools to cancel classes ahead of time. Some school boards in Sherbrooke didn't seem to have actually heard the news that a record dump was on the way and merrily invited classes to proceed as per normal but when the storm hit many students either got stranded in buses or were actually forced to spend the night at the school due to the snow storm but it is unclear if Sherbrooke is just not served by the Weather Network and no-one at the school board actually heard the news.

One tragic death of a young athlete in Quebec who went out training (!?) during the storm and was later reported missing and then found dead in the snow. People often underestimate the forces of nature and drivers continue to speed on roads that have large settled snow on the roads. The narrow Chemin Knowlton is hard enough to navigate at the best of times and with the snow it is like a single lane pioneer trail! Even though the weather is warming up and the snow has stopped for now, the roads around Knowlton are looking like a frozen maze with the mountains of snow lining the roads reaching up to the height of the stop signs.

Winds reached well over 60 kmh during the peak of the storm and wind chills for the three days averaged at minus 28 degrees. While we were scratching our heads in January wondering what the heck happened to winter as even the ponds weren't frozen we are now seeing a real Canadian winter up close and, maybe for some of us, a little too personal!

More snowy pictures can be found in the DK Image Gallery


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