I will just come out and say it, my winter tires are still on.
Having grown up in Alberta and knowing full well that what has been going on this spring is fairly normal, there are two things I was always told.
One, never plant anything that might freeze outside before the third week in May.
And two, don’t change the winter tires until after the May long weekend.
Now, many of us have conducted ourselves in this pattern for many years, based upon experience.
I’ve seen it snow in Alberta in nearly every month, the only exception is August.
And no, I’m not talking about just a few snowflakes, but a good dumping where at least the snow sticks to the road surface instead of melting. Although, leaving water on the road to later freeze can be worse than the snow and slush late in the day when the temperatures drop again.
I also agree with the ‘experts’ on the subject, who note that winter tires still perform well when temperatures are consistently around or below seven degrees Celsius.
Granted, there were a lot of days since the end of February where that wasn’t the case — and it had people rushing to get their tires changed — which is an upward trend I’ve noticed over at least the last 12 years or so.
People tend to start switching over by the middle of March and into April for a variety of reasons, though I think the biggest are wanting to beat the rush to the tire shops and being a bit too optimistic about the warmer weather making a return.
Sure, one can understand why, what with having survived a tremendously arduous and long suffering winter.
However, simply being able to see the ‘light’ doesn’t mean you are at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes, it’s only an indication that one will come out the other side, eventually.
And being this is Alberta, where the phrase “wait five minutes and the weather will change” is relevant in any season, that eventuality could come in March, April or even June.
So, maybe the rule of thumb I grew up with doesn’t apply every year, but it’s right more often than not.
Hang up or hang on
Which brings me to another interesting debate people, especially families, have around this time of the year — when to put away their winter wear.
Unlike the tire debate, this situation can be quite muddled for months depending upon the weather forecast and what it’s like when the alarm clock goes off, since the results can be vastly different from each other.
And even then, there remain several decisions to be made.
Will it be cold or just chilly for the morning and warm up later meaning there is a need to take along a lighter outerwear option?
Is it wet or snowy and will it stay that way all day, so one doesn’t have to pack a second pair of footwear?
Are the various weather forecasts for the day going to be right or will the one we don’t look at be the right one, so one has to pack for any type of weather?
These are just a few examples and we haven’t gotten to the big one — the forecast and the actual weather outcomes have been the same for the past week, so do we dare risk it and put away the stuff we haven’t worn in several days?
Chances are, if you have put it away, it will wind up being needed days later and the struggle becomes digging it out or remembering where it was stored.
Given the way the weather patterns have worked themselves out to be in recent times, maybe it would be good to implement the following suggestion though it only works if the room can be found.
Have accessible in the closet near the door any outerwear, footwear and other items being used for the current ‘season.’
Then, stored in the same area (or as close as can be accommodated based on room available), have a few plastic storage bins and fill them with whatever other seasonal items that may or may not be used.
Sure, if it’s the middle of July, you may feel free to move the ‘winter’ items to a different area and if it’s Dec. 15 you may be able to shuffle out the ‘summer wear.’
However, it should be noted that what usually gets moved winds up being needed when one least expects it.
But that is…just an observation.