Thursday, February 17, 2011

Snow and cold weather in the local news

It seems that there's so much snow that it's creating some problems even here in Very Northern Florida. In the city center the contractors are supposed to clean the streets by piling the snow and once the piles get too big they shoud transport them by tractor trailers or trucks to a snow dump. Obviosly they haven't done so, and now the local newspaper wrote a story about it. The text is in Finnish, but you can see that the snow piles are high. They're filling parking places and making streets narrower. The high piles block traffic signs and limit visibility.

A couple of days ago I took a scenic shot of a bikeway in a "suburb":

There's a road on the left, a snow pile, the bikeway, a bigger snowpile, and houses on the right. At this location the snow pile on the left is so high that a kid walking on the bikeway is just barely visible to a car driver. There was a short section about half a kilometer forward where the pile was so high that even an adult could barely see over the pile.

Here the bikeway maintenance crew apparently had problems with getting the bikeway cleared with a snow plow when the snow got too high on the sides. It's even worse closer to the underpass. You can't really push snow anywhere there. So they took their tractor powered rotary snow plow and threw the snow further away from the bikeway. Now the snow bank is about a meter and a half away from the edge of the bikeway and they can clean the bikeway with a small plow again. They do this (clear the edges of a bikeways and roads) later in the spring also on flat ground. Once the snow starts melting some of the water runs away from the bikeway, instead of all of it getting into the bikeway.

In another news, the trains have problems with the brakes freezing so trains are running late. Car batteries are running empty in the cold so some drivers are having problems with the car. Also, petrol stations even in southern Finland are selling "arctic" diesel because of the cold weather. The arctic diesel is usable in colder temperatures than regular diesel, which turns into jelly and clogs the fuel pipes at measly -30C.

The cell phone company Nokia has a lot of development done here in Oulu and now people are worried about their jobs because of the microsoft deal.
In the newspapers web forum there is heated discussion whether we should build the underground parking garage in the city center, now that there will be thousands of unemployed cell phone engineers who will leave the city.

Another thread was about should kids walk or bike to school when it is -30C or should they be taken by car or taxi or bus. Also there is chatting about changing the grease in your bike so you can ride in colder weather. There has not been any posts about dog poo yet.  :-D

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