And Introducing, Alberta Clipper

Written by: Rodney Wilson

Mr. Alberta Clipper blew through on Monday, bringing dropping temperatures, double digit wind gusts, and our first real taste of North Dakota wind chill. I must say that the past two weather events, last week’s winter storm and this week’s Alberta Clipper, have given us an introduction as to what we can expect this winter; but normally Mother Nature holds her cards a bit closer in that these types of weather events are more normal in December and January and not October, especially before Halloween.

What is an Alberta Clipper? Normally an Alberta Clipper will push warm air ahead of it, giving you a false hope for a nice day. Behind the warm air is cold air, coming straight from Canada, and because the air travels in a south easterly direction, coming from the northwest, it is named for the Canadian province where it seems to originate, Alberta. Winds can gust up to and over 40 miles per hour. Snow showers often accompany the winds. It is a good news, bad news scenario. Good news is that like its namesake “clipper”, it travels fast. But the bad news is that behind an Alberta clipper is frigid air that will hang around for a couple of days, with no promise of a warm-up.

There are a couple of other weather events that often define winter, and let’s hope that we see a more normal November and we don’t need to talk about blizzards and white outs until well into December.

No Promises-But:
I am sure many of you are stuck in the current quandary of “should I put away the rakes for the season? In my garage, the snow shovels take the place of the rakes once the fall leaves are properly raked up and hauled to the local residential collection sites. But the system was a bit out of whack this year. There are a ton of leaves on the ground that fell as a result of the heavy wet snow cover. There are still trees that are holding a majority of their leaves, too. So, the question is, “Will we get another chance to gather leaves in November?”

I am thinking that we will, but there are no guarantees. There were places on my sidewalk where I was shoveling as much leaves as snow. It would certainly be nice if we were able to dispose of the leaves properly and have a nice, clean start to yard work next spring. I’ll give you a hint, if we don’t get a warmup, sometimes called Indian Summer, by the time you are serving your turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, it is time to make the permanent shift in the garage. Rakes for shovels, snow blowers for lawn mowers. It’s part of the North Dakota way of life.

You Just Have To Smile
The snow, or the show, must go on, and so it did on Friday as Downtown Minot held its annual Treat Trail Celebration. Certainly, there were a lot fewer kids wandering downtown getting candy from the local participating merchants, but those who bundled up were like that old saying “Big Fish in a Small Pond”, meaning they received a lot more candy for their effort as merchants were told to prepare for about 3 times the number that showed up. I was talking to one little trick or treat participant and asked him about his costume. My costume today he answered back? Well, my costume today is a little boy dressed up warm with my winter coat and my winter boots, so he doesn’t get cold. My Superman costume is back home in the closet…Trick or Treat!

Best Kept Secret
The Northern Sentry is a community based newspaper, and thus we rely on merchants to support us with their advertising dollars. When I hear good things about those merchants, I am quick to let folks know. At the height of the last winter storm, I heard through social media that Trusted Tire was working hard to get people back on the road with new snow tires and those quick repairs like batteries and other repairs. Yeah, we knew winter was coming, but this storm kind of took us a bit by surprise. Thanks to Jarid and the gang at Trusted Tires.

Today’s Chuckle
Lazy is a very strong word. I like to call it selective participation.

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