Too Much Snow

Sunrise/sunset: 08:35/15:30 Daylength: 6hr55min

Okay, I admit it! Even for me, lover of snow extraordinaire, it’s a bit over the top this year. It’s February, and from my limited experience of living in the Arctic, I would expect it to be minus twenty for most of the month and for the snow coming down from the sky to be very limited. There should be some on the ground, obviously, but falling… No!

A photo taken yesterday morning when I arrived at work.

When it falls below minus ten or so, humidity normally falls away. The amazing hoar frosts we sometimes get occur when the temperature drops quickly and all the water particles in the air attach themselves to anything and everything. But it also means that in the colder months, snow is generally quite limited. Much of the snow that falls tends to fall later, in April perhaps, when the sun’s rays begin to carry some heat and the world begins to warm again.

It is mesmerising, of course, and very, very beautiful. Unfortunately, it is heavy enough at the moment to create some significant problems. I drove John’s car to work yesterday as he went away yesterday to a farm up a long, heavily rutted road. I bought an SUV before I came here for exactly that type of scenario, so we have swapped for a couple of days. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem. John’s car is lovely and I’ve driven it before. But unlike mine, his car is very low to the ground and long and requires significant care when turning into driveways or car parks with any kind of camber or slope. In addition, it is manual and I haven’t driven it often enough to be familiar with the controls, all of which would have been fine if it wasn’t for the addition of a blizzard that went on and off all day.

I left work in time to get home in daylight yesterday, but even then, conditions were difficult. Visibility was poor. This was partly due to the whirling snowflakes, but also because of the cloud cover, which obscures the sun, meaning there are no shadows. When everything is white and the edge of the road is blurred by snow drifts sending their deadly fingers across the asphalt, it becomes almost impossible to see where the edge of the road is. There are snow poles, which you can follow of course, while trying not to go too close. If you go into those drifts, they can drag you in and send your car into a spin. So I limped home at 50km/hr (30mph), trying not to think about the queue of more confident drivers behind me. I was very relieved to get home.

John’s car, safely home

It’s been snowing quite a lot since then. This is what I saw when I opened the front door this morning to let Triar out.

Snow outside the front door, obscuring the steps.

I am going to have to do something about it, because John will be coming home from the farm later, and even in my car, I think he might struggle to get into the driveway. He suggested, last night, that I move his car over nearer to the garage (to make it easier to clear the driveway with the snow blower) and I thought I would do it today, when it got light, but that’s now a very big task!

John’s car, not yet buried, but still quite significantly covered.

And so, I’d better go out and make a start. The first step will be to take a shovel and dig a pathway to the garage where the bigger snow pusher and the snow blower reside. Then I have to decide whether to try to start the snow blower (not easy, it’s physically tough to even pull the rope fast enough) or whether I should just resort to pushing enough out of the way in the more traditional way. I just hope that John actually manages to get home. He’s working on the farm next weekend, feeding and caring for the sheep while the owners go away for the weekend. They’re rushing through showing him everything last night and this morning, as the long, rutted road is also in an avalanche area. There are early warning systems, so he’s unlikely to get caught in the avalanche, but if there is one, he will be trapped there until the road is cleared.

Anyway, that’s a reasonable summary of this morning. It’s snowing again now, but even so, I’d better go and make a start. Have a good week everyone!

8 thoughts on “Too Much Snow

  1. We have at least 5 feet of snow here where I live, and when the wind blows, it makes even bigger drifts. I have done so much shoveling, I don’t need a gym membership! We have 5 foot tall fence posts that are completely buried in snow. And we still have about two more snowy months left! So I get you!

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