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66% more snow in Orillia this winter than normal, temperatures 15 degrees colder

ROBERTA BELL - Special to The Packet & Times

(File photo)

(File photo)


Kanta Kapoor and Barbara Rahm were bundled up as they waited for the bus at the corner of Mississaga and West streets Friday afternoon, but their winter gear was no match for the bitter cold that enveloped the city.

“I dressed warm, but you can still feel the cold through it,” Rahm said.

The two women missed their transfer by a few minutes and were waiting for the bus to come back around.

“It’s so cold,” said Kapoor, who had just got off the phone with her family after explaining she’d be home from grocery shopping later than anticipated. “This is awful, waiting for half an hour.”

The temperature in Orillia Friday afternoon was -20 C, but with windchill, it felt like -26 C, said Dave Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada.

However, it was much colder in the morning.

At 8 a.m., Phillips said the temperature was -34 C, but with windchill, felt like -38 C.

“The temperature at 8 a.m. would normally be around -16,” he said, noting the 18-degree difference.

He said the temperature in the afternoon at this time of year usually hovers around -5 C.

Dylan Taylor, who walked to work at Target Thursday, said the biting cold was a bit of a shock.

“I didn’t expect it,” he said.

But he was ready Friday.

“Today, I wore bigger gloves and a scarf. I prepared a little more,” he said Friday afternoon as he waited for the bus.

While it’s supposed to warm up a little on the weekend — highs are predicted to hit above -10 — Phillips said another storm system is moving in and it’s going to start snowing again.

The Orillia area has had about 66% more snow than normal this winter, he said.

Between Dec. 1 and 31, Orillia got hit with more than 136 centimetres of snow, said Bryan Stewart, the city’s public works manager of operations.

“We’ve already gotten half the snow for the year in just one month,” he said.

Crews have been working to plow the snow from the roads and sidewalks, but can’t remove it until it stops coming down, Stewart said.

Friday was the “first real break” they’ve had to actually do some snow removal, he said, but the frigid temperature meant it took longer to get machinery going, which slowed things down.

Although the city’s 2014 winter-control budget, set at $1.34 million, was slashed by $50,000 during council’s budget deliberations last month, he said, it hasn’t impacted service.

“We’ve managed to be above what our winter-control policy said the whole way through,” Stewart said, noting the savings are being found in internal management.

Orillian Mercedes Ladoucer said she prefers the snow to the cold.

“The snow is beautiful. It looks really nice around Orillia,” she said. “It’s just freezing.”

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