Monday, March 25, 2013

Slosh means Spring!

It isn't officially Spring yet. The Meteorological Spring in Finland starts when the 24hr average temperature climbs above +0°C. In Oulu that happens sometime mid-April. Right now, when the nights are -15°C or -10°C, just a few hours above freezing in the afternoon are not enough to bring the average up.

There are some signs of Spring even on the bikeway. On sunny spots there's some slosh. And there's even the odd puddle here and there.  And where the snow plow men kept the plow too tightly on the ground there are some patches of brown, dead grass visible.

The snow plow men have been busy scraping the extra ice off, and pushing the snow banks further away from the bikeways. Look at the photo below: the snow banks is more than a meter away from the edge of the asphalt. The meltwaters hopefully will sink into groundwater instead of making puddles on the bikeway. Of course, the ground is frozen solid so it'll be a while until the water can sink anywhere.

I read on the newspaper the other day about several cars driving into the ditch because the snow plow men had lost the road under the ice and snow and just plowed somewhere where they thought the road might be. The end result was that the "plowed road" was partially over a ditch...
Snow banks pushed away.

Here's what a street looks like after Ice Scrapers have scraped the ice off. There were some parked cars so they couldn't scrape everywhere. The ice left on the street is about 20cm thick, and the chunks on the pile are mostly 5cm thick with a few 10+cm pieces thrown in.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Guess what this is?

Quiz time. Identify it. :-P

What, No Gritting?!

I'd been riding on this bikeway for a few hundred meters  when I noticed there was no gritting at all! That's weird, because it hadn't snowed much lately to bury the sand under the snow. Neither has it been so warm that the ice would have melted causing the sand to sink. Although I'd say there were some signs of spring sun on the ice.

A bit later the mystery was solved: the ice scraper had been at work. When it removed a few inches of ice from the bikeway, it also removed the gritting sand with it. It removes also any ruts made by the melt-freeze cycle. I don't like this particular machine, as it has teeth that are pretty wide (look at photo below for the scrape marks). They're wide and deep enough that they feel like they're catching the bike tyre even if they're not. The other blade or machine they use has much finer teeth and makes smoother surface.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Higher And Higher

The ice layer on the street gets higher than the sidewalk next to it. And if I recall correctly, the kerb stone was pretty high on this street. A new ice age in the making?

Here's what the temperature curve looks like on a nearby weather station. From the low of -25C, the temperature as been getting higher and higher, almost reaching -5C today. Just ignore the sharp drop at the end and we have a good hockey stick curve to prove the climate is heating up! 10 degrees in the 12 last hours, and if the rate keeps true we'll reach boiling point in a week. Forecast -22C for the night and -10C for tomorrow. Pretty typical March weather.

This isn't a good curve to show the power of the sun, but I'll try to remember to take a screenshot of one of those cold night and warm days (-20C to +0C) later on. In April, maybe.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

A thousand car pileup!

That's what I misread the headline from the news. During the bad weather there were some accidents and small pileups on the Motorway 4. The earliest accident happened early afternoon, and then the chaos spread all over. Due to a HGV that tipped over both lanes going south were blocked. The motorway has several entrances from the city and the police wasn't able to close them all immediately so more and more cars joined the queues. At worst the mess (queues) on the was several kilometers long.

In Kemi, another town about 100km further north, the wind piled snow on the train tracks causing delays.

It snowed about 13cm (5 inches) in 4 hours during the afternoon blizzard. And there was some snow earlier and later, so the day's total was about 20cm of new snow.

Find the flower boxes?

Really sunny day today. -13C and wind from the north.

This last picture was taken on a quiet residential street. I'm standing on a sidewalk/MUP. Where's the edge? The ice layer on the street is so thick that the surface is almost even with the sidewalk. 4-5 inches?

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

There was some snow

Today there was some snow on the bikeways. And the snowplows were also there, I happened to ride behind one for a little bit. The conditions were fine, except the snow that is : a few degrees below freezing and not very windy.

Just a few hours later the sky is clear. And the wind has changed direction, blowing from the north (12m/s) so I got a head wind again. :-/

I've loaded a few videos without a blog post, so if you just check the blog you might have missed them. But they're boring so don't worry!