Judy Mitchell Portrait
Judy Mitchell

Central and Eastern Canada has been battered by extreme weather over the past few weeks and this could be a new norm if weather forecasters stats are valid indicators.

Judy Mitchell, a coach here at The Nature of Real Estate, lives in Saint John New Brunswick where they experienced a deluge of ice storms, snow, deep freeze, wind and more ice storms.  Many were without power for over a week (like much of central and eastern Canada) and without water as well in this semi-rural area.  We know Judy as tenacious, pragmatic and extremely capable so no surprise to us, she goes to show homes in the thick of it all.

In this week’s Blog, Judy shares her story of heartache, fear, compassion and ultimately, the celebration of human kindness.

Like much of Central and Eastern North America, Saint John, New Brunswick was hit with extreme weather over the holidays.  The mess began on December 22nd with snow, then freezing rain, power outages, deep freezes, more freezing rain, snow,

 another deep freeze, more freezing rain and huge winds.   

 We were battered for three days straight and that storm was followed by several others in succession for over 2 weeks.    

 We were without power for a week, many for longer. In addition, we are not on municipal water and our wells stop when the power goes out.   . The loss of running water can be even more discomforting than the power loss.  Your wood stove, generator or even a kerosene heater become your best friend.  Much of our area has no cell service so the lack of communication adds to the challenges.   

ice storm one temp.mht

 Santa had a terrible time.  There were no lights to guide his safe landing and he got banged up and bruised stumbling around strange dark houses.  Many folks are telling stories of their children opening Christmas gifts while wearing snow suits.

 Who knew you could make a full turkey supper on a BBQ, but we couldn’t do the dishes!

 It was a true old fashioned Christmas with friends and neighbours gathering together to make the best of things, sharing what they had to spare and helping those in need.  People reached out in a way that we don’t see much anymore and it left me with a profound gratitude for human kindness.  We held neighbourhood cookouts, local companies gave out firewood,  Irving distributed Kerosene and propone,  the municipality delivered salt,  water and food and we all pitched in to ensure that the members of our community most in need got what they needed. 

 Unfortunately, there was still much heartache.   Many homes incurred major damage. A friend’s home burned to ground just hours after the kids opened their gifts.  Another had a tree fall on their home, causing severe harm. Many listings have had to be taken off the market due to damage caused by the storms.

 As a REALTOR®, time never stands still and business continued.  I had booked showings for the days between Christmas and New Years and after discussing it with my client, we decided to go anyway and see what sort of adventure we would experience.  All the properties were without power except one.  The warmth was welcoming and in strong contrast with the cold and dark of the others. It was interesting to see the homes in their natural light.  We had to hike up long driveways (one was over a kilometer long) through deep snow and around fallen trees.  I am embarrassed to say that my car went into the ditch and we had to get the neighbours help to get it out.  It was a memorable day in my long real estate career and I am sure I will look back at it fondly – one day.  The funny part is, my clients just moved to Saint John from Freeport, Bahamas and the adventure for them was even more foreign.  We had a great day, we laughed a lot, and they are still excited to be living here in our winter wonderland. 

 I have spent many hours lying awake listening to transformers blowing, generators humming, trees falling and ice dancing in the wind.  There are eerie blue streaks in the sky when the transformers blow. It’s crazy.  It is so dark and then the sky lights up with these blue ‘bombs’ of light.  Sort of like lightening but it starts at the ground and goes up.

 We all hope and pray that the trees will continue to fall away from the houses.  We have lost many trees and our land will never be the same but we will always remember Christmas of 2013.  The ice storms of 1997 were bad, but these are the storms that we will be talking about for years to come.   

 Time to go fill the tub with water and bring in some firewood. The Emergency Measures Organization is warning of possible power outages due to more freezing rain and I want to be prepared. 

Judy Mitchell, REALTOR®, Remax Professionals and Associate Coach, The Nature of Real Estate.