Environment, News, Science

Looking Forward To The January Thaw

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January Thaw. Image: Michael Bouman
January Thaw. Image: Michael Bouman

The January thaw is coming. The term describes unusually warm weather for the time of year–and many people in Canada and the United States should experience it around the end of this month.

Many cities in Canada and the U.S. have been hit with blizzards and extremely cold temperatures, as well as high winds and lots of snow.

Many cities in Canada had snow and temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) or colder. With the “wind chill factor,” -20 degrees Celsius feels like -35 degrees Celsius.

However, the January thaw (also called a bonspiel thaw, according to Global News), is something to look forward to. The thaw could last several hours up to about a week.

That’s good news for the many homeless people who have been affected by the severe temperatures.

In Toronto, Ontario, homeless people have been crowding into homeless shelters to escape the cold. The city’s mayor decided to open a major public building known as The Armory, to be used a shelter during the very cold nights.

Environment Canada says that people who are outside must cover any exposed skin when it is extremely cold out, in order to avoid frostbite. Frostbite happens when skin freezes, which can cause damage to the skin.

Even before the January thaw, many Canadian cities will experience slightly warmer temperatures as early as this week.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Scientists understand the causes for the January Thaw; however, they are unsure why it occurs when it does.

Search online for a weather related phenomenon that interests you. Keep researching your topic to see if you can find a related mystery.

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
Many of you have experienced the extreme weather this winter, firsthand. Discuss with a classmate, and then your class, how the winter weather has affected you, your family, and friends.

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them 
 (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them 
(OME, Reading: 1.6).

Language Feature:
Bonspiel is a term used in the sport of curling; it means a curling tournament. Here, it it is also used to describe weather.

Championship game titles, such as The Super Bowl, The World Series, The World Cup, and Stanley Cup can be used by authors to make big events sound intimidating and huge.

Mix and match the four championships, or some of your own, with the following weather systems to create new and dynamic descriptions: hail, fog, heatwave, down pour, ice storm, and blizzard.