Many years ago I heard Bill Rowe on VOCM Open Line complain about how many people from the Mainland believed that Newfoundland had awful weather. I remember at the time asking myself if Bill Rowe was really from Newfoundland, as this island truly does have awful weather. I couldn’t help but remember Mr. Rowe’s long ago comment this past week as I was watching the steam my breath made during my family vacation in Terra Nova. On Monday the high was 11 degrees. Back on the Avalon is was apparently several degrees colder than that. On Wednesday it got up to 21 and we went to Splash and Putt, and the wind was blowing the chairs into the pool.
Newfoundlanders who bravely attempt to defend our weather point out that we don’t have tornados, we don’t have to plug our cars in overnight during the winter, and though we do get the occasional weakened hurricane, we don’t get the truly devastating ones like Hugo, Andrew, or Katrina. All that is true, but it doesn’t change the fact that Newfoundland has the worst weather on earth.
What makes our weather so painfully unbearable is its unpredictability. People often talk about Winnipeg having bad weather, but if you live there you at least know exactly what you are going to get. Winters will be frigidly cold and summers will be extremely hot. You know that you will be able to go snowmobiling all winter and head to the beach every day in the summer. In Newfoundland, particularly on the Eastern half, you can have 12 degree days in February and 9 degree days in July. We have had entire years where you cannot skate, ski, or swim. There isn’t another place on the planet that can make that claim.
If you live near the ocean in the southern United States you can build a house on concrete stilts. If you live in Winnipeg or Edmonton you can build a house with lots of insulation and an air conditioning system. How the hell do you adapt to a place that has 12 degree days in February and 9 degree days in July? There is no escape from Newfoundland weather. Newfoundland is the only place on earth that has terrible weather for both golfers and snowmobilers. If you want a reliable outdoor activity in this place you should buy a hot tub or take up scuba diving.