Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The March report.

I've been meaning to write about the weird winter, but in the end I decided to save myself some work and not write. Excellent decision, for now I can wrap up March in one blog post. Here's the video version of the report:

Well, here goes: snow, melting, snow, melting, snow, melting. Early March it snowed about weekly, and it was white for a day, then the snow melted away. Now there's almost no snow left, except in the shadows of buildings and trees. And the bikeways are almost ice free, with the same exceptions as above. It feels like it should be later in April, but there hasn't been any snow for weeks. I often go cross country skiing on Easter, not a chance of that now. Unless we get a Putin-esque cold spell and new snow.

There's  a lot of brown grass visible, but it will take a while it could turn green. I did see some grass with a greenish tint on it, on a particularly sunny and warm spot, but as the nightly temperatures are below freezing (-11°C for tonight) and just a few degrees above during the night, the soil is still pretty frozen. Plants evaporating water but unable to suck in moisture from a frozen ground will get thirsty.

Anyway, the spring is here. I've even spotted some bikeways that were un-gritted, the sand had been swept away. Lots of sunshine, people on bikes and birds singing. And the monstrous woodpecker:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Warm February

A picture like this shouldn't happen in February. Puddles, grass, ice free streets. Even bikeways are partially ice free. In February. Well, they said it's the second warmest February in the last 100 years. Some plants are preparing the leaves, and migratory birds have been spotted. They're a month early. But we've had wind from the south so they had easy time flying here. If the wind turns north, they'll have hard time flying back. :-/

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sunny Day Feels Like February

Now that we got -20°C I can say it feels like winter. But as I was riding about I somehow got the feeling that it was like in February. I guess it is the increase in sunlight and the cold temperatures that makes me feel so. But just look at these pictures: there's hardly any snow and it's late January. Weird.

When I was taking these pictures in the park I got the idea to take a picture of the long shadows. Well the shadows cast by the trees and such were too tall for my purposes, so I had to find a twig and stick it in the snow. Then I realized the twig wasn't very visible (no leaves :-) so I stuck a piece of paper on it. Hmm, white paper and white snow...? Look for the footsteps in the middle and you might notice it.
A few minutes with Gimp to add some lines to show the plot. Gimp has a measuring tool which gives the angle as 5 degrees. Sun was  5 degrees above horizon at after 1pm. Copying files around lost the timestamp so the time is inaccurate at the moment. But maybe someone can calculate the time if he knows sun was 5 degrees high, Oulu lies 65 degrees north. :-)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sunshine coming up!

The weather has been nasty for almost the whole of 2014 so far. Temperatures around freezing or even above it, cloudy, raining water and sleet. Although there was some days with snow coming down, there wasn't much snow left anywhere. About the only wintery thing left was the ice everywhere, and even that was melting. (The climate change: it melts glaciers! :-)

So instead of pretty white snow everywhere, we had slosh and ice until they melted. On some areas the ground had frozen already, meaning it was impermeable for the water. Puddles in the city, new mini lakes in the fields, flooding rivers in the coastal plains. The flood damage is minimal, but there will be some damage from the ice on the fields. (The ice will freeze the grass and block the oxygen getting through, choking the plants. Fluffy snow works as an insulation, solid ice does not.)

Now the low pressure zones have shifted and the wind is coming from the north east. Nice cold air from the north. The forecast says -10C to -20C for the next few days. I think even the Russian tourists who came to Finland for New Year Holiday would be satisfied. 
Anyway, here's a picture to match the topic, taken yesterday. Even though the sun is up for about four and a half hours (half an hour more from the solstice already), it certainly wasn't up yesteday, at 11pm.  There was an inch of fresh snow and I was one of the few people about, so I thought I would snap a few pictures of fresh tracks on the bikeway.
Ok, so taking a pic with the flash on didn't work. I tried other settings, too, and here's a better shot.
All white now, and the bikeways underneath were not very slippery either. Snow on smooth ice can be slippery, but either there wasn't much ice, or there was plenty of gritting sand, too. I think it's even possible the sand was frozen into the ice, creating a sandpaper like surface.

I'm not sure if they used sharp-edged gritting sand or maybe I rode on somewhere I shouldn't have, (the gritters are supposed to use tyre friendly sand on bikeways) but I've got some patching to do today. There's a leak in the tyre... sigh.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Things I saw today, Mon 25 Nov 2013

The first interesting thing I saw today was a trailer. Someone had driven on the bikeway to drop the trailer here. (Driving on bikeways and sidewalks is not allowed without a good reason, like: it is the only route to get there.)

Whoever it was dropped some kind of ski track making machine here. I guess they expect this snow to stay... we'll see. The snow is only 5 inches deep. That's enough for the kids to take their skis and sleds out. .

And while riding downtown I heard this before I saw it. For some reason, the hydro power plant has opened some gates and is letting the water go. I guess the dam is near overflowing. But I expect the price of electricity to increase, now that the power company has to recoup the money they don't get because they have to waste the water!

Monday, November 04, 2013

If I Can't Decide

The snow I wrote about in the last post is gone. With all the rain we've had lately it couldn't stay long. So I swapped the studded tyres out. Actually, I put the summer tyre on an old clunker front wheel so I can just swap the wheels instead of having to deal with the tyres every time. (Never mind that the wheel gives odd clicks every now and then. And the balls in the bearings... not all of them were the same size. One of them looked like it had peeled off the shiny outer layer. Clunker, indeed. ;-)

But look at the forecast for the next few days:

Now you see why I have a problem. With all that sleet coming down, there's a good possibility that there might be icing. But cloud cover and above freezing air temperatures should mean that the bikeways will stay warm enough and ice free.

So What Should I Wear? Or maybe I'll bungee the other wheel on the  bike and swap as needed...

Edit: Guess what? I closed the browser and went outside. It had snowed while I had been writing about lack of snow! ;.)

Monday, October 21, 2013

White Stuff From The Sky

It's this time of the year again: Some white stuff falls from the sky, stays for a day or two and then melts again. Last Friday there had been some snow, but mostly it was more decorative than all-covering blanket. There's been some snow flakes and frozen puddles before, but either it was too dark to get photos or I didn't have my camera. No pic, no proof! :-)
Then there was supposed to be a snowstorm at night. I was a bit disappointed after all the hype in the news. No big storm here. It missed us, although there were some fallen trees around here too. Oops, sorry, those were from the storm that ripped all those leaves off the trees. The big storm  left just a few centimeters of snow. But enough for us to leave tyre tracks on it, and for the snow plow men to take their machines out for a ride.
And here's a short video clip before/after the snowfall.