Week of March 5th 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Mar 5 Mar 6 Mar 7 Mar 8 Mar 9 Mar 10  Mar 11
High -1 1 9 4 -0 -5 -7
Low -16 6 15 8 -2 -10 -14

The fluctuations in temperature this week were causing the ice to change daily.  Even though it warmed up quite a bit on Sunday & Monday, I managed to walk the whole distance (beach three to beach one and back is my usual route) on the ice as opposed to walking on the sand like I usually do.

By Thursday the ice close to the shore melted completely.  I’m pretty sure the ice had been frozen pretty much down to the sand and was held firmly in place, but as things warmed up the ice started to shift causing big cracks to appear along the ice the entire length of the beach.

The whole is sheet appeared to have cracked at some point overnight with the warmer weather and the freeze / thaw cycle.

Even while I was walking along the ice on Sunday / Monday I was hearing loud booms and cracking sounds, some close and some far away.  There was no danger because the ice was plenty thick, but it was clearly moving. Some of the cracks were several hundred feet long like the one below.  A huge section of ice dropped about an inch.

Another crack in the ice. Walking along the ice I was periodically hearing loud bumping sounds as the ice was shifting

By mid-week it was very mild. There were work crews taking advantage of the warm weather using heavy equipment to clean up some of the sand drifting across the road at beach one.

On March 7th with the warm weather they had some heavy equipment near beach one removing some of the sand that has drifted across the road.

By Thursday it started to turn cold again and once more became very windy. The winds were gusting to 80 kilometers per hour. This was the same day they had to close the Burlington skyway because of the transport truck that blew over in the wind.

The winds were right out of the west on March 8th. You can see the effect of the wind on the water near the shore. It was no longer possible to get out to the “ice dunes” as I call them,

Somehow with all the wind and return to cold weather, the water near the shore seemed to disappear overnight causing the ice near the shore to sag about a foot in places. I’m speculating the water level near shore had gotten higher than the water level of the lake, and there must have been enough melting to allow the water to drain back out to the bay under the ice.  Apparently the ice is no longer frozen all the way down to the sand.

I found this really interesting on March 9th. The ice near the shore melted, the surface froze again, and sometime overnight the water underneath disappeared causing the ice to collapse about a foot in places leaving the shards you see above. You could see in places there was nothing under the ice – just air.

March 10th was the highest winds I’ve seen yet and it was getting cold again. You can see the whitecaps below and you can see snow squalls off in the distance towards Blue Mountain.  My hands were frozen in just the few seconds it took to take pictures.

Friday March 10th had a strong North wind again. You could barely remain standing at times. 

Walking down the boardwalk was no picnic today either. It was just too nasty to walk the whole distance down the beach, mostly because you couldn’t keep your eyes open with all the blowing sand, so I walked along Shore Lane to get out of the worst of the wind.  In places there is a foot of sand on top of the boardwalk.  There’s got to be some weight to that!

Not sure the picture captures this, but the blowing sand was a hazard making it hard to see. You can see the wind taking the sand across the boardwalk above.

We got about six inches of snow Saturday morning and it was blowing and drifting an awful lot.  The picture below was taken around 11:00 AM as I started my walk entering the beach at my normal spot near 18th street north.

On the weekend of March 11th we had snow squalls. Hwy 26 was closed in the afternoon because of poor visibility. Here is the entrance to the beach at 18th street north.

At times it would be almost clear, but then a snow squall would come in and limit visibility again.

Looking west from near Beach three.
Looking east towards beach one during snow squalls on Saturday March 11th

As I post these pictures, they’re calling for the snow squalls to continue overnight so I’ll be interested to see what things look like tomorrow!

Week of February 26th 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Feb 26 Feb 27 Feb 28 March 1 March 2 March 3 March 4
High 2 2 10 8 -5 -6 -9
Low -3 -1 -1 -5 -8 -10 -14

We continue to have days with unseasonably warm temperatures but I was able to get out on the ice a few days.

Picture below looking north from near Beach three.  I find it interesting that a major block of ice is split like this. Picture taken Feb 28th.

View below looking north March 2nd near beach 2

On March 3rd we finally for some sunshine after what seemed like weeks of gray cloudy days.  A sunny day makes all the difference. By the end of the week it was getting pretty cold again.  The high for the day was around -10 C, but with the steady north winds it definitely feels colder than that!

View below looking north across the bay March 4th.  The ice was sufficiently frozen after a few cold nights I felt comfortable walking out near the edge.  You can see the lake is trying to freeze, but the wave action won’t let it.

I’m wondering whether a bird can survive in these temperatures for long.  It was  clearly alive, but it sure looked cold.  Some birds returned during the warm weather in the early part of the week.

The picture below was taken March 5th.  I could see frozen bubbles all the way down to the sand so it appears the ice is frozen solid close to the shore.

 

Week of February 19th 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Feb 19 Feb 20 Feb 21 Feb 22 Feb 23 Feb 24 Feb 25
High 8 4 9 18 16 5 7
Low 2 -1 0 1 4 1 2

After this week, you’ll have a hard pretty hard time convincing me that the climate is not all messed up!

It’s supposed to be the coldest week of the winter, but the weather was in the double digits.  Not just one, but multiple records broken.

  • On Tuesday February 21st, the high temperature was 9 C, surpassing the previous record high of 5 C set in 2002
  • On Wednesday February 22nd, the high temperature was 18 C, surpassing the previous record high of 9 C
  • On Thursday February 23rd, the high temperature was 16 C, another record on a day when the high temperature on average is -1 C

You get the picture! It’s amazing, but also a little depressing.

Given the tropical weather on Sunday, we decided it might be a good day to try and fly a drone on the beach.  Jamie and I parked at our usual spot and gave it a try.  Despite how warm it was, it was just a little too windy and the drone kept blowing away (luckily away from the water) – we decided we need a bigger drone!

Jamie getting ready to fly his drone from the ice pack near 18th street north
Jamie’s drone flying over the beach – we now have the camera working so as soon as we get a still day, we’re going to try again and get aerial photos
The beach came alive for the Family Day long weekend. Most people I’ve seen on the beach since I started early in January. Tons of skidoos, skiers and four-wheelers.

The days were so nice I got down to the beach twice some days this week. There are many more pictures in the Gallery.  You could actually get a sunburn from the reflection off the snow.  For the first time I saw cross-country skiers heading up and down the beach as well.  Lots of people were in town for the long weekend opening up summer homes and cottages.

Walking out on the ice back. Notice how the ice has been shifting with layers of ice piling up on top of one another.  Early in the week I felt the ice was safe enough.

By the end of the weekend, it had been so warm, and so many snowmobiles had criss-crossed beach, that the snowmobile trails were down to wet sand as you can see below.

The snowmobile trails worn down to the sand by the warm weather and constant traffic

Most days mid-week were warm and hazy.  The picture below taken from the upper part of the beach shows that despite the warm weather the ice is still hanging in at the shore.  Note all the mini ice-bergs floating out on the bay.

I’m not sure why there is so much floating ice. I suspect the warm weather means chunks of ice are breaking off and floating off shore. We had a south wind a few days bringing the warm temperatures
Looking west late afternoon Tuesday There is water on top of the sand and snow creating a bright glare

It’s pretty incredible the difference a few warm days makes.  By Saturday the 25th, despite heavy rain all day Friday and some thunderstorms the night before everything was dry (below).

At least it is easy to walk on the beach again! I definitely prefer this to the glare ice of a few weeks back.  With the snow all gone I was able to take a different route, walking back from Beach one through the parking lots in the provincial park below.

After the record warm temperatures the beach is once again try and easy to walk on.
I found this dirty ice interesting near the west end of the board walk. There is still ice on the ground mixed with snow.
Even though it is warm the wind off the water is cold so it was nice to be able to take a more sheltered route walking back out of the wind.