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General · 20th March 2013
Robyn Budd
It's cool having a Newfie pal to tell you things you never knew. My friend Beth told me today's sudden rain and wind squall has a Newfoundland counterpart known as 'Shelagh's Brush' – and so I went a-googling looking for more info. Here's what I found on one Jean Knowles's blog:
"It's all in the timing, I suppose. In Newfoundland and Labrador, there's a belief that St. Patrick's Day brings with it a storm, usually one of the last significant storms of the winter. It's a deep-rooted tradition within the Irish-descended population in particular. The occurrence of a storm within a day or two of March 17 was so common that the storm came to be known as "St. Patrick's Storm". A lighter, less snow-laden storm occurring soon after the St. Patrick's storm soon became "Shelagh's Brush" – the identity of Shelagh (or Sheila) has become a bit murky over the years, with some people referring to her as St. Patrick's wife while others think of her as his mother or even his housekeeper. The light snow of Shelagh's Brush was said to be the result of Shelagh taking a birch broom to the corners of the heavens in a spring-cleaning frenzy. Somehow, through the passing years, the two storms have merged in the collective psyche of Newfoundland and Labrador...."
So maybe Shelagh is diversifying, doing a westward migration. Me, I'm thinking our coast has been visited by the infamous Ms Shelagh more than once – what say you, veteran weather-watchers of this fair isle?