Have We Had Our Bonspiel Thaw?

Whew, we were in deep slush here for a few days!  Looks like we’ve pulled (pushed?) through the Great January Meltdown.  It was fun to say that Spirit River was hotter than Vegas!

This week’s sudden rise in temperature was right on time to be a January, or Bonspiel, thaw, a phenomenon familiar across Canada but more pronounced in the prairie provinces.

Typically, although not necessarily every year, most of Canada will enjoy warmer temperatures in mid to late January, but only for a short time and almost always accompanied by strong winds.  We certainly felt that wind this year!

The warm spell is caused by a shift in atmospheric circulation, but no one yet knows why it should happen in the second half of January with relative consistency.

Here on the prairies the thaw is called the Bonspiel Thaw because it coincides with bonspiel season.  When rinks were but brushed stretches of rivers, sunshine and warm temperatures could be disastrous for January bonspiels!

Nowadays Spirit River’s sloping roads and slushy driveways are the main terrors of the melt.  The rain was unpleasantly hard but it seems everyone adjusted their driving wisely (sales of window washing fluid spiked too).

After a couple of balmy, breezy days the cold weather and snow returns, usually with a vengeance, just a day or two later (imagine the frustration of those early curlers!).  So what do we have in store for today?

Have you got pictures of the blowing snow or bonspiels of yesteryear?  We’d love to post them here on the blog.  Send them to townspirit@hotmail.com.

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4 Responses to Have We Had Our Bonspiel Thaw?

  1. It’s kind of mild here on Vancouver Island too, but I’m bracing myself for another cold snap, which can still happen in February. But meanwhile it’s nice to get a break.

  2. Pingback: Scenes From Januaries Past | Town Spirit

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