Monday, January 12, 2009

Gripped by winter...still

We arrived back in Neuchâtel on January 2nd and there was up to 12" of snow on the ground. Well here it is 10 days later and that snow is still around. It has been cold - usually around -5°C (23°F). It hasn't really snowed more and the winds have been slight. While it has been cold, it hasn't been uncomfortably cold.

The snow has crusted over and is difficult to remove. Most of the roads are clear to drive on, but not necessarily cleaned off. Many roads have a ridge of packed ice down the center of the road. Sidewalks are covered with 6" of hard packed snow. You still need to be careful driving around and walking can be treacherous.

The city seems to have cleared the streets as well as they are going to. Crews are now working on cleaning off the sidewalks. It is quite an effort. They use small trucks with 4' or 5' wide 2-stage snow blowers mounted on the front. These things can really chew up the crusted snow. A dump truck drives in front of the blower to catch all the snow and it is trucked off. After a few passes the sidewalk is really pretty clean. On small sidewalks the work is done by hand. I have seen guys with pick axes and shovels doing the work. The weather isn't going to be much help. It just isn't predicted to get warm enough to do any melting.

The plus side of the snow and cold is that the sledging hills still have plenty of snow. And they are packed hard as ice and are really fast. The kids around town are loving this. I am told this cold spell and all this snow is quite unusual for Neuchâtel. After a snowfall it usually warms up after a few days melting everything away. I'll be glad when it warms up, but the winter landscape is nice to look at.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We always like to get feedback. Please leave us a note. Merci and remember to do so again soon!