Best wishes from icy Niagara!

editorial image

In a special feature this week, The Coleraine Times caught up with ex-pats in America and Canada to find out how they have been coping with the arctic blast that is sweeping across the continent.

Parts of the US and Canada have been experiencing record-breaking low temperatures as a blast of arctic air blows across North America.

Sharon Hunter and her family moved to Niagara seven years ago.

Sharon is originally from Scotland, but her husband John is a Portstewart man.

John works for American Express, whilst their children Jemma and Paul are currently working in hospitals in Toronto.

With temperatures at minus 20, Sharon explains that life is difficult, but that people are ‘just getting on with things.’

“Our summers here are great, hot and sunny and there’s lots to do.

“Winter is lovely too, we always get snow.

“This year the cold snap has seen temperatures sitting at minus 29, the windchill takes it to minus 40, and to be honest you just don’t want to leave the house!”

Describing the weather that they have been experiencing, Sharon explained: “This has been the worse winter we have experienced since we came here seven-and-a-half years ago.

“It’s beautiful to look at - everything is iced over, but many trees have started to fall over due to the weight of the snow and the ice on the branches.

“Toronto had no electricity for days, thankfully we haven’t been that badly affected. One of the malls here had no power in the run up to Christmas, but apart from that everything is as normal. ”

Sharon went on: “When you do have to go out, your face is numb.

“The authorities have advised everyone to cover as much as possible. It’s very hard to describe how cold it is, your fingers and face just nips when you are out in the cold even for a very short time.

“The indoor malls are full, its the only place that people can shop and get out to meet others, but you have to get out and about otherwise cabin fever sets in.”

Despite the sub zero temperatures, Sharon says that life still goes on: “People here are used to snow and ice.

“People still go to work, kids go to school.

“The airports are finding it difficult due to the ice on the runways, so there have been lots of cancellations and delays.

“The roads are proving to be difficult due to the snow squalls and the ice - driving is pretty scary, you can’t see a thing.

“There have been many accidents - cars sliding off the road and we had a twenty car pile up on our highway.”