Week of December 31st, 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Dec 31 Jan 1 Jan 2 Jan 3 Jan 4 Jan 5 Jan 6
High -13 -7 -6 -4 -11 -17 -17
Low -22 -20 -16 -13 -19 -25 -23

Happy New Years everyone!

It’s official. I managed to keep my 2017 resolution, and walk down Wasaga Beach every day for a year!

I missed a few days because of travel and work commitments, but several days I went twice (especially in the summer) so overall I’m confident I completed 365 beach walks in 2017.

I’ll standby for the forensic audits of my photographs as my geeky friends examine the meta data in the JPEG images! 🙂

You could be forgiven if you think this week’s pictures look like last week’s pictures. The weather has been pretty much the same for several weeks now. Lots of cold weather with bands of lake effect snow.

The temperatures this week won’t impress my friends in Sudbury, Timmins,  Thunder Bay, Manitoulin or Inuvik (I presently have no friends in Inuvik although I’d like to).

This is cold for Wasaga Beach here in the relative tropics of Southern Ontario. The wind chill walking down the beach is formidable. I’ve learned to dress in (many) layers and tolerate freezing toes and hands but it is still cold – especially on windy days.

Sunday, December 31st, 2017 – looking to the north from near 16th street
Monday, January 1st, 2018 – so as I started my walk near 18th street heading east today it was clear. But look at the cloud bands towards Christian Island / Midland.
Monday, January 1st, 2018 – Just a few minutes later the clouds and snow were upon me. It’s incredible how fast the weather can change from clear to near whiteout conditions. Hard to believe this is the same day
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018 – Another cold day. Nothing to see here – moving on.
Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 – Today was kind of cool – the bay was actually frozen because the wind was from the south. A little counter-intuitive, but this reduces the wave action and allows things to freeze up. What was notable about today was the sky. I’m not really sure the point of the snow fence in this picture – perhaps left over from a special event?
Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 – A lonely picnic table near beach one just off the boardwalk. Blue Mountains in the distance. Volleyball poll in the right side of the picture.
Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 – I snapped this on Shore Lane near 16th street a block from the beach. The beach is to the left and the snow coming off Georgian Bay creates snow drifts. This must have been a large snow blower that just passed through. The height of the drift ranged between 5 and 7 feet. The “cut” is clean to a height of 7 feet.
Thursday, January 4th, 2018 – I had to cut my walk short today and chicken out. It was just too cold and hard to see with the winds. The temperature was not too bad, but we had a fierce north wind.

On Friday things turned dangerously cold. Hwy 26 was closed  by the OPP because of drifting snow and whiteout conditions.

 

A promise is a promise, so I ventured down the beach from my usual parking spot at 18th street and tried to do my walk.

This was the first day I found myself wondering whether walking down the beach was wise. I got a little scared and found myself running down the beach because it was just too cold to walk and I was looking for an exit. Kind of insane I know. I just wasn’t dressed warm enough despite being dressed in the warmest clothes I had. You need goggles and a full facemask in weather like this. I only walked from 18th street to 16th street (these are long blocks). I “ticked the daily walk box” and turned around and walked back on Shore Lane.

On Shore Lane I came across a 3/4 tonne truck with a plow stuck in the snow while trying to clear a driveway. He was rocking his vehicle and gunning the engine. I wasn’t convinced he could see me because of blowing snow, so despite the cold I decided not to walk by him – I paused for a few minutes to watch. I had visions of the wheels catching and the truck lurching just as I walked by. He got free, rolled down his window, and said in a friendly way, “Nice Day for a Walk”. We kind of bonded :-). I could tell he was actually enjoying the interesting weather.

On the way back to our house I came across what looked like an accident, but it was a Honda Civic stuck in a snow drift crossing the road on Wasaga Sands near the water tower. A good Samaritan in an F-150 had already stopped to offer help and had a chain linked to the frame of the Civic and floormats under the wheels.

I stopped to offer help, but was told they had it under control. Just as well. I can’t stand smug F-150 owners making fun of my Toyota Tacoma. 🙂

Friday, January 5th, 2018 – This is taken right near 18th street – no zoom or anything – this is what the beach looked like. -19 C with just stupid winds of ~ 50 km / hr according to the weather network. At one point I saw the light of a snowmobile in the distance, but he turned around. This was by far the nastiest day so far.
Friday, January 5th, 2018 – I got off the beach at 16th street and walked back to my truck on Shore Lane. This picture taking looking west between 16th street and 18th street where I usually park.
Friday, January 5th, 2018 – This picture taken back at my truck. This is the municipal parking lot neat 18th street. Parking in the lot is just not an option even with my beloved 4WD. Thankfully the Wasaga Beach plow operators seem understand my problem and keep a small section of the lot plowed so I have a place to park off the road. In the summer this lot is often packed with cars heading down to beach three.
Saturday, January 6th, 2018 – Today was a clone of yesterday. -19 C when this picture was taken with strong northwest winds that made walking down the beach really tough. This picture taken at the west-side boardwalk near beach two.
Saturday, January 6th, 2018 – Looking toward beach one from the western boardwalk. Patches of blue sky come and go, but most of the time the sky is grey with snowsqualls from Georgian Bay.
Saturday, January 6th, 2018 – Looking west from the boardwalk. You can see the boardwalk is hard to walk on this time of year. In places the boardwalk is down to wood, but in other places you need to walk through snow drifts.

 

 

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Week of December 24th, 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Dec 24 Dec 25 Dec 26 Dec 27 Dec 28 Dec 29 Dec 30
High -1 -3 -2 -10 -13 -15 -9
Low -5 -5 -10 -19 -25 -22 -17

We managed to break some temperature records this last week in December. It started out mild on Christmas eve and Christmas day, but by Thursday we were into a deep freeze. The water is still open so we continue to have a lot of lake effect snow in and around Wasaga Beach.

One minute it will be sunny, and the next it will be near whiteout conditions.

Sunday, December 24th, 2017 – Christmas Eve was an awesome day for a walk down the beach. I walked out on the shore ice a short distance to take a picture of this ice chunk that somehow got lodged in a vertical position.
Sunday, December 24th, 2017 – this picture was taken late morning walking down the boardwalk. You can see from the footprints that someone was here ahead of me this morning. The beach is swept almost clear of snow by steady north winds.
Sunday, December 24th, 2017 – I walked back from beach one along the beach instead of the boardwalk today. Walking on the beach is often tiring in the winter because the snow can get a little deep in places. It was a treat to walk on hard, frozen sand at beach two. Further to the west the beach is all ice and snow covered.
Monday, December 25th, 2017 – After celebrating a wonderful Christmas with family, I snuck out for my daily walk. The side streets were slow to be plowed Christmas day so Shore Lane had 10-15 centimeters near the 18th street parking lot where I park my truck. This picture taken looking west.
Monday, December 25th, 2017 – Today was unbelievably cold, but it was worth the walk just to take this picture. I think this is one of my favorites of the year. I got new snow pants as a gift from Michelle’s parents and they proved themselves to be very useful today.
Monday, December 25th, 2017 – It was so windy Christmas Day it was hard to look to the west, but I took this picture across the ice. Despite the cold weather the water cannot freeze when the winds are this high. Gusting to 65 km / hour.
Monday, December 25th, 2017 – Taking my usual trail on the way back from beach one at 13th street to cut onto Shore Lane and get out of the wind. The snow was deep but not impassible yet.
Monday, December 25th, 2017 – I snapped this picture heading back to the truck at 18th street where I normally enter the beach. This is a bit of a natural wind tunnel. Believe it or not this is not a gust – this entrance to the beach is a constant blizzard. I think I need to invest in snow goggles.
Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 – We had less snow than Christmas Day today – it continues to be very windy though. This picture taken looking to the east. Midland was getting serious snow. Unfortunately my sister and younger brother could not get from Parry Sound and Azilda to our annual Boxing day get together because of storm warnings. It was clear in Wasaga but pretty ugly north of Barrie on Hwy 400.
Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 – Usually there is a path here, but it is blocked by snowdrifts today. Armed with my kick-ass new snow pants, I decided to walk through the hill you see up ahead above. In places I was up to my waist. By the time I walked through this deep snow over to Shore Lane going west I was pretty tired – Throwing yourself over snowdrifts is good exercise!
Wednesday, December 27th, 2017 – I didn’t take as many pictures today. It was cold overnight at ~ -16C. You can see the bay is trying to freeze. I still see open water in places though. Tonight it will be -19C so as long as the wind stays from the south or easy I suspect the bay will freeze solid.
Thursday, December 28th, 2017 – I got out on the beach at around 10 AM. It went down to -25C overnight and it had warmed up to -21C by the time I started down the beach. There was not a lot of wind chill today. I fully expected the bay to be frozen but was surprised to see it open with waves and ice chunks floating on the surface. I think the ice is easily an additional 60 feet further from shore than it was yesterday. You can see fog coming off the open water in the distance. This is the relatively warm water interacting with the very cold air.
Thursday, December 28th, 2017 – I ventured out on the ice pack to the point where I could safely see the water and the edge of the ice. Looks cold!
Thursday, December 28th, 2017 – I snapped this picture walking back along Shore Lane taken at 16th street looking to the west towards the Bay. I’m amazed how blue the shadows look in the foreground.
Friday, December 29th, 2017 – I snapped this picture Friday morning looking out on the ice. Looks like a couple of frozen alligators locked in combat. It was around -17C this morning. Thankfully the winds were off shore. I’m surprised the water is still open. Mist is rising from the relatively warm water in the cold air. I read yesterday that the water temperature in Lake Erie was approaching freezing. Georgian Bay is deeper so it takes longer for the water to cool down and freeze.
Friday, December 29th, 2017 – this is really strange – there is a frozen strip of ice about 100 feet past the ice pack in a straight line. Note the mist over the water in the distance. This was taken in the morning so the air was still cold (around -17C). I’m too chicken to venture to the edge of the ice.
Friday, December 29th, 2017 – This indentation is the foot path that I usually take on the way back from beach one to cut over to Shore Lane near 13th street. The path near the beach is still there, but crossed by snowmobile tracks as you can see above.
Friday, December 29th, 2017 – Looking south, the footpath I normally take is covered with snow. I decided to skip walking down shore lane today. I made the mistake of trying to walk through this snow two days ago and was buried up to my waist. I ended up having to roll across the snow to get our. The snow looks even deeper today so “no thanks”.
Saturday, December 30th, 2017 – Today we were back to snow squalls, It was slightly warmer today but hard to walk on the beach. The easiest place to walk is on the snowmobile tracks but you still sink into the snow.
Saturday, December 30th, 2017 – Looking to the north the water is interesting. There is a mild north wind so you can see the waves, but the water is covered with floating snow and ice.
Sunday, December 31st, 2017 – Looking across the Bay on a cold Sunday morning. It was approximately -21 C early this morning went I went for my walk. There is quite a bit more ice than yesterday, but the water is still open as evidenced by the mist far from shore.
Sunday, December 31st, 2017 – Taken at the 16th street entrance to the beach looking to the north.

 

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Week of December 17th, 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Dec 17 Dec 18 Dec 19 Dec 20 Dec 21 Dec 22 Dec 23
High -9 4 5 1 -4 -4 1
Low -15 -11 2 -4 -7 -7 -6

The week started out with the coldest day so far, and for the first time this season the bay is frozen.

I’m sure it still thaw again because the water is still relatively warm. According to https://www.watertemperature.net, the water in the bay is still close to 50 degrees Fahrenheit so it takes cold air temperatures to sustain the ice.

We’re getting a bit of a thaw on Monday / Tuesday this week, but after that, we’re back to cold temperatures for the rest of December so we’re in good shape for a white Christmas.

Sunday, December 17th, 2017 – While technically not winter yet, today was  one of those “perfect” winter days. As you can see from this picture from our back deck we had a sunny morning and I could hardly wait to get to the beach.
Sunday, December 17th, 2017 – It was -15 C early and the winds had dropped so finally the bay was frozen solid as far as the eye could see. I wouldn’t dare walk on the ice though!
Sunday, December 17th, 2017 – with more fresh snow there were lots of snowmobiles criss-crossing the beach. This picture was taken from the boardwalk at beach 2. Hope this guy doesn’t mind me posting his picture. He failed to stop and sign the waiver. 🙂
Sunday, December 17th, 2017 – Taken looking south from the Beach 2 boardwalk.  It’s early enough in the morning that the sun is still low on the horizon.
Sunday, December 17th, 2017 – I need someone smart about meteorology to confirm this, but I suspect this bank of cloud with entrails leading down to the water might be the demarcation point between the open water and the ice closer to shore.
Monday, December 18th, 2017 – on entering the beach at the 18th street the sky looked threatening to the north. The ice is all still frozen but the winds are picking up and it is getting mild so I expect the ice will be gone tomorrow.
Monday, December 18th, 2017 – Sure enough, it wasn’t two minutes later it started to snow. The lake effect snow bands keep crossing the beach with the weather sometimes changing in minutes. You can see the snow coming in the distance which is cool – For those not familiar, the beach is 14 kilometers end-to-end and you can usually see the full distance..
Monday, December 18th, 2017 – The main drag at Beach 1 was looking lonely when I got there. Not a single car in sight.  I’m glad they repainted the buildings this summer. It looks more colorful than last winter!
Wednesday, December 20th, 2017 – back to strong winds and high waves. The waves have broken up a lot of the ice.
Friday, December 22nd, 2017 – Frozen again this morning. We had an east wind keeping the winds offshore.
Friday, December 22nd, 2017 – About ten centimeters of fresh snow made it hard to walk because the snow was covering over ice chunks and glare ice in places.
Saturday, December 23rd, 2017 – When I started my walk the sky looked threatening. I was expecting rain or snow but none materialized. Hard to see from this angle, but the bay is partially open, partially frozen.
Saturday, December 23rd, 2017 – What was striking about today was that the wind shifted completely from south to northwest in the course of my one hour walk. The change took place just within a few minutes. This picture taken walking back. The light is such that you can see the difference between the water and the floating ice.
Saturday, December 23rd, 2017 – Taken just as I exited the beach near 13th street to walk back to my truck on Shore Lane.

 

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