Right on cue, Sheila and her brush take aim on Newfoundland

Digital WritersThe Weather Network
Digital Writers

Sheila's Brush is right around the corner for Newfoundland... what exactly does that mean?

St. Patrick's Day has passed, and now it seems Sheila and her brush are set to sweep into Newfoundland, right on cue.


In weather legend, Newfoundland recognizes a winter storm that falls near St. Patrick's Day as Sheila's Brush. But just who is she?

"Sheila is related to [St.] Patrick in some way," says Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips. "Now mystery has it, it's his wife or sister or mother or mistress or housekeeper."

The idea is that the storm is one of winter's last, and that Sheila is brushing the season (and snow) away.

"The legend is about the fact that after St. Patrick's Day, so from March 18th on, there is usually a sort of winter's last hurrah," said Phillips.

While St. Patrick gets his own day, Sheila's timeline is a little more flexible.

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"It doesn't necessarily happen on March the 18th. It can happen in late March, April and even early May," explains Phillips.

There are some Newfoundlanders and even seal hunters who firmly believe in this and won't head out until they know Shelia's Brush storm has happened.


Legend or no, you can't deny Newfoundland has a history of potent storms near St. Patrick's Day.

In 2008, the second of two powerful back-to-back storms roared across the province on March 17. Schools and businesses were shut down. In St. John's, even public transit was pulled off the road. Roads were completely blocked by snow. Gander saw 120 centimetres of snow - about a quarter of its average annual snowfall in about a week.

Looking back over the data, it seems St. John's has reported at least some snow on March 18 every year for the past 7 years.

ODE TO SHEILA - By Chris Murphy

Sheila will come and Sheila will go

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Along the way, expect rain, ice and certainly some snow.

And it's a foregone conclusion that the wind is gonna blow.

So why does Sheila's Brush come around every St. Patrick's Day or so?

It's because Sheila loves Newfoundland don't you know.

But once Sheila's gone... Spring is soon to show.