Sunday, January 23, 2005

Tundra time

The biggest snowfall of the season has hit us, and locally it hasn't amounted to much.

Don't get me wrong. I think at some point last night the snow gauge (OK, the wooden stick with inch markings on it and a painted snowman figure at the top with the message "BRR, It's Cold!") probably registered twelve inches of snow, but by this morning it had compacted down to about eight inches of dry powder. The roads are not great, but the snowblower made quick work of the stuff on the sidewalks and the street in front of my house. (As usual, I spent about 15 minutes trying to start it for the first time of the season before I bothered to read the three sentences of instructions printed on the snowblower itself, giving the correct sequence of choke-prime-start. Following these, the snowblower started immediately.) But in terms of hazard, this really doesn't compare to the fast-compacting sandy stuff we had a week before Christmas, or the wet slushy stuff we had two weeks ago that was only too glad to contribute to my basement flooding.

It was very windy today, and this had a few effects. It caused drifting, most seriously over the sidewalks that I invested precious minutes of my time clearing this morning. It made the tiny ice crystals of surface snow go airborne and turned the sky into a sort of gigantic Fresnel lens . (Well, not exactly, but the effect is similar. I have had to park my car a few times while driving West around sunset due to the increased apparent brightness of the sun.) Most interesting, it made the landscape outside look like a frozen tundra, with great billows of snow whipping along across yards and around trees and buildings.

Tomorrow shouldn't present any major problems getting to work, I think. But I should look into getting a new pump to replace the one that burned out last week. After all, this snow's gotta melt sometime...

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