Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Winter wonderland

Hey, I’ve found the answer to the question I asked in my Sunday post. The explanation of what caused the current freeze spell can be found here. It’s even reassuring that the almost worldwide cold snap draws to a close, but doesn’t imply winter will go away.

I also noticed nobody’s happy with the latest snowfalls, I haven’t seen anyone making a snowman, everyone’s struggling a huge snow cover that reached 40 centimetres in Warsaw, still far less than record 70 from late January 1979. I tried to discover the snow as a picturesque stuff, but if there’s nothing but the snow (below) it’s kind of hard.

Below – I’ve never seen such a phenomenon before. That’s what happened to my east windows on Saturday and disappeared on Monday. The frozen outer glaze is an effect of rain falling in the temperature of –3 degrees. It fell and froze over, so the windows looked a bit like stained glass.

I wondered how Warsaw dealt with the snow and my curiosity, though satisfied, has left me with mixed feelings. All main roads were clear, but the rest was no better than substandard… Driver’s life’s not easy these days, especially if they haven’t used their car for the past few days. This negligence may either immobilise their cars for the next days, or weeks, or force them to dig their car (below).

Once you get your car out of a snowdrift your problem isn’t solved yet. Finding a parking space free of mixture of snow, grit, salt and mud verges on a miracle, getting out of a vehicle usually means dirtying shoes and trousers up to your knees and an attempt to drive out of the mud, even if successful, may last a while. Many drivers pushed the excess snow from the parking spaces they had found (below). After all snow is quite movable and unlikely to dent or scratch car’s bodywork.

Pedestrians seem to be discriminated in the capital of Poland and air their disgruntlement. If somehow, miraculously, a pavement has been cleared, another ingenious human being may use a shovel to block it with some sizeable chunks of icy snow (below).

The worst happens when you have to get into a bus or cross a street. If another side of a zebra crossing looks like the one on the picture below, you’d better try to cross it somewhere else. I almost fell over on this site!

Yesterday in the afternoon I ventured to the Eastern bank of Wisła to visit my former colleagues from the bank where I had had an internship. I have to say I like popping in Praga from time to time and when I call it “Warszawa B” it’s not out of malice only. Praga has its own provincial charm. Below: a bazaar between ul. Grochowska and ul. Mińska. Shopkeepers collectively remove snow from the roofs of their stalls.

As they were inviting me, they advised me to take wellingtons. I did without them quite well, but was appalled by the sight of the car park (below). The administration of the building hadn’t deigned to move their arses and clear a single cubic centimetre of snow. Employees who came to work after snowy weekend also didn’t do anything about the snow, just drove onto it and wade through it to work. Weeks will last until it normalises, my former colleagues won’t see it cause their department is moving to a new headquarters in February.

Below: a flawed photo of National Stadium construction site. Cranes were meant to be in the foreground but the tram’s speed was too high, or I just didn’t foresee it and didn’t press camera’s button early enough. Heavy snowfalls haven’t suspended works but slowed them down.

Odśnieżanie has become a buzz word these days. But it’s not snow clearing that poses the biggest problems. It’s easy to remove snow, but what to do with it? Almost everyone has the problem of storing or getting rid of the damned white substance.
I piled a decent snow bank on my drive and after I take the most difficult exam I’ll carry the frozen snow onto the back of the garden with a wheelbarrow, but my neighbours don’t enjoy a comfort of having some spare space. We have, because as the only family in the row of terraced houses have only one car (poverty appears positive), kept in the garage.

The snow I cleared from the street is stacked next to the gate (below), but the potential for pouring the new amounts of white powder has drastically diminished, what means each new snowfall will cause a problem.

I wonder how the temperature will change. No new signs of cooling have been observed yet, though the meteorologists (and media) frighten us with temperature dropping to –20 degrees this week. Today it hovered slightly below zero and let the icicles (below) hang down from my roof.

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