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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Forget Utilities, What About Seattle?

Snowmaggedon may be less than feared, but one inch of snow in Seattle can create havoc.

The nicest part of this video is the bit where some kind soul shares the theory and practice of tire chains with a benighted traveller:

If you have to drive in Seattle, don't despair. Driving in Portland would be SO much worse:

This particular one is from Seattle. I think they need pedestrian/snow insurance in Seattle:

You may be as confused as I at how they manage that. It turns out - they practice!

Too many people with no chains, no studded tires, and no sense, dealing with snow that is 30% water content so it turns to slush and refreezes as an ice rink. (This isn't the 10% water content powder that falls on the other side of the mountains.) Fun fun fun. I was just as glad that the break point between massive snow and melted snow was at Kalama.
Ha! Having driven Portland in a "snowstorm", I can honestly say the only thing bad about it is the other drivers. People move there from all manner of places that have no snow.

Well, that, and the little problem of the entire metro area having six snowplows or something. It really does get bad if the freeze lasts for more than a couple of days. Since the snow removal policy is to wait for a thaw, and because the ground temperature never really hits freezing, the ground pressure from vehicles causes the snow to melt on the roads, and re-freeze at night as a perfectly smooth sheet of ice. On day three, it's time to just put up hay bales at the end of your driveway and light a fire in the fireplace, 'cause if you go out you're going to get hit by somebody running bare radials on their Subaru...
Neil - now that sounds like a plan. The first encounter must come as a fearful shock to people who have moved there from more wintry locales.

A little bit of grit and salt goes a long way!

If all the households just had a bag or two of salt and sand, instead of videotaping the carnage they could run out there and throw a bit on the road. If they did that, at least it would be safe to walk on the sidewalks.
We're not allowed to use salt or sand. It would hurt nature somehow. It's funny how the locals manage to stay so clueless. All they have to do to learn how to drive in the snow is take a few trips up the Gorge.

I am so happy I can work from home!
Neil's comments are exactly right. It's generally the 2nd or 3rd day that are the worst. I would add that at this time of year at latitude 48, the sun (if seen at all) is at an angle of 24° at noon, not much solar gain there. And lots of trees around to provide icy spots even when most roads are clear.

Teri, has White Salmon/Hood River unburied yet? If not, there's still time to go practice.
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