Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay, Ont., has had so much snow and cold that one expert says 'it feels like it's winter forever'

The Thunder Bay, Ont., area has certainly seen more snow than usual this winter. About 63 centimetres have fallen this month alone, more than double the 27 centimetres in a typical February.

This month alone, there's been over 60 cm of snow in the northwestern Ontario city

Barb Walberg of Thunder Bay, Ont., says the snow is almost reaching the top of her fence, while her patio is filled to the brim as well. This Thunder Bay area has seen more snow than normal this winter. (Submitted by Barb Walberg)

Some people in northwestern Ontario might be sick of winter by now, but the latest dump of snow has been a welcome addition for cold-weather lovers across the region.

For others, this season has been reminiscent of extreme winters from the past.

Another 20 to 30 centimetres fell in areas around Thunder Bay over the weekend, adding to the already towering snow banks around the city.

"With this snow, it's even better than good," said Adrian Tessier, who said it's been years since he's seen a winter like this on the sled trails.

"A lot of our permit holders really like riding in the powder, so we left the trails the way they were and they went and played in a foot plus of powder over the weekend," added Tessier, the groomer co-ordinator for Thunder Bay Adventure Trails snowmobile club.

Over 60 cm of snow in February

According to Environment Canada and Climate Change, the Thunder Bay area has certainly seen more snow than usual this winter. About 63 centimetres have already fallen this month alone — more than double the usual 27 centimetres in a typical February.

Snowbanks are piled high in Thunder Bay this year as February has seen more than double the amount of average snowfall, and the month isn't over yet. (Olivia Levesque/CBC)

The Thunder Bay area has also been experiencing unrelenting cold this winter, which is not unusual for the region. In January, the temperature never went above 0 C.

The steady cold temperatures means the snow isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

"The extended cold period since mid-December, the fact that we've got these systems moving through, and there's no significant melting, so it feels like it's winter forever," said Gerald Cheng, a meteorologist with Environment Canada and Climate Change.

The good news is more seasonal temperatures are expected by next week, with daytime highs inching back up to around –3 C.

However, Cheng said the snow season is not over yet and locals can still expect some systems to roll through in the weeks and even months to come.

Snow gear hard to keep on shelves

That might be bad news for people who have been looking to replace shovels and other snow-removal equipment this winter.

One hardware store manager in Thunder Bay says keeping snow shovels on shelves has been a challenge. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

Sarah Green, a manager at Maier Hardware store in Thunder Bay, said keeping shovels in stock has been a challenge, which is not the norm for the store.

"It's not really a supply chain issue for us," Green said. "I think it's just the amount snow. We've had lots of people from the area, you know, around Thunder Bay are saying they can't find metal shovels anywhere." 

"A lot of people broke their shovels, because there's so much snow, plastic shovels can't handle it… Everybody is just amazed how much snow there is and they're all running out of room to put it," she said.

Green said she's heard from customers that the amount of snow on the ground is reminiscent of 1996, when the city saw a blizzard of massive proportions — and about 50 centimetres in just a few days.