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    Posted January 7, 2015 by
    Montreal, Quebec
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Wintry weather

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    Johnny Canuck can break the ice, eh!

    Johnny Canuck can break the ice, eh!

    *Mandeep S. Oberoi


    I had taken this video during the end of March last year at Ottawa, Canada. When the temperature starts to rise during early spring at Rideau river, there is a risk for the ice-flows to collide. This can create an ice jam and block the flow of water that can flood the nearby settlements. Therefore, the city blasts the ice using controlled explosives. It is fascinating for the visiting photographers and the city residents alike to witness the occasion from a safe distance. Our location was very close to a dog park that made the event more exciting. Many dogs of varying breeds and their owners passed by the trail near us for their regular winter walks.

    The prevailing Northeastern context

    We are in January now. As I write this manuscript, the city of Montreal and nearby townships in Vermont, Eastern NY, Quebec, and Eastern Ontario in Canada have become very icy due to a winter storm. The roads and the sidewalks have transformed into the likes of very large ice skating rinks, thereby making the commute very risky.

    Looking forward to three months from now on this video, I would want to deliver a hope by presenting the fact that Johnny Canuck really knows how to break the ice. Of course, that will happen later. Johnny Canuck, the lumberjack personification of Canada is also known as the younger cousin of United States' Uncle Sam and Britain's John Bull. Johnny Canuck has had multiple roles including a Canadian comic hero, a Second World War action hero, and a political cartoon. And now, he is the ice breaker.

    The unusual temperature coaster of 2015

    The temperature had risen unusually high to positive 46 deg F (8 deg C) for few days during the last week of December. It was unusual considering the time of the year in the region. This led the snow to melt. Before the ensuing freezing water could evaporate or settle down under the ground, the temperature fell down to negative 7 deg F (-14 deg C) overnight and eventually down to negative 11 deg F (-24 deg C) with the wind chill. Therefore all of this water has turned into 2 to 3 inches of ice across the board for almost a week now and that is also not usual.

    Implications of the twisting weather conditions

    We had a green Christmas and a warm new years eve, though the first week of January has brought a new unusual twist to the weather story. I had to take-off around 4 inches of ice off my car earlier this week. Usually it is the snow that we take off. The storm has blocked electricity for over millions of people in the region converting their homes into igloos. Igloo means a snow cave in the Canadian First Nations Inuit language.

    Looking forward

    When the going gets tough, Johnny Canuck gets going. It’s time to layer up your dress and look forward to the plethora of interesting winter activities this season will bring. This unusual patch of weather will pass-by in next few days. I am scheduled to visit the Omega National park over the weekend, here in the Quebec province of Canada. I will witness wild animals right from the window of my buddy’s car. Of course, the car will have winter tires.

    *Mandeep S. Oberoi, twitter @mandeepsoberoi is an outdoor enthusiast. He is an intermediate hiker, kayaker, camper, poet, and writer. He has ventured across Laurentian mountains and Eastern Quebec townships in Canada, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier in the West coast of USA, Scottish Highlands, Toco range in the Caribbean, Swiss Interlaken mountains, and the Himalayas, among others. He works professionally as SAP financial services consultant for his firm Dexteyra Consulting Group Inc.
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