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.