Winter 2019/20 has been one of persistent Arctic cold for much of Canada, particularly for Newfoundland and Labrador. The province has been battered by sub-zero temperatures, heavy snow and high winds during the past few months, making life utterly miserable for NL farmers.
The worst storm of the season so far was the “historic” blizzard of January 17 and 18, which buried the greater St. John’s region under a record-breaking 76+ cm (2.5+ ft) of snow.
“Weather bomb is a good way of describing some of the storms we’ve had,” said Mervin Wiseman, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture (NLFA).
“It’s definitely been challenging for a lot of producers here. The practicality of removing snow from these roofs is really unmanageable. It can’t just fall off the roof because there’s no place for it to go. The snow (around the barns) is already up to the roof. There were 15-to-20-foot drifts in some places. If we don’t get some warmer weather so some of this snow melts, we could be looking at some structural damage.”
“One (pig) farmer,” continued Wiseman, “who actually lives outside of the Avalon (Peninsula) — his market depended on him getting into the Avalon area, and because of the (road) shutdowns, he had a big interruption in cash flow because he wasn’t getting to his market. And with the extra cost of feeding his livestock, too, that has some economic consequence as well.”
What this all points to, concludes Wiseman, is that the issue of food security for an island province is even more important than was previously thought: “We obviously have to work hard at food self-sufficiency, sustainability, without having to depend on distribution and transportation systems outside of the province.”
Richard Whitaker, an 82-year-old who is winding down his small sheep and hay farm located near Placentia Bay, said: “There were a lot of issues — snow clearance, insufficient water supply, extreme cold. While on snowshoes going to the barn, I was blown off my feet three times. I had a lot of problems getting the tractor moving as it was snowed in with heavy ice packed on the heater cables and the fuel pump. And I was at the farm all by myself.”
It’s been a harsh winter season for Canada, and the models are suggesting yet another bout of anomalous cold and heavy snow will batter Eastern Provinces this week — particularly on the 19th and 21st, with the final days of March forecast to close out the month in similar fashion:
GFS TOTAL SNOWFALL (inches) — MARCH 19 to MARCH 29:
In fact, much of North America looks set for a frigid weekend ahead, as Winter-conditions persist:
TEMP ANOMALY (C) — MARCH 21:
NASA has recently revealed this upcoming solar cycle (25) will be “the weakest of the past 200 years,” with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.
Prepare for the REFREEZE — learn the facts, relocate if need be, and grow your own.
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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift