12 December 2010

Blizzard of '10

We have now had snow on eight consecutive days and on most days since Thanksgiving - a streak that has spanned two countries and seven cities and towns. We've had a lot of snow, but what to call it? The "blizzard of oh-ten" or the "blizzard of ten?" One sounds like a temporal mistake, the other sounds like a martial arts movie. I have pushed for the "blizzard of the second half of twenty-ten," which I think is both accurate and informative.
The largest snowfall was two nights ago, when we were in Tartu. The city was blanketed by about a foot and a half of snow. It's quite a bit, but the people here seemed prepared and unphased. The streets were plowed fairly well - though some vehicles were still having trouble - and nobody appeared to be getting all that worked up about it.
In contrast, the rest of Europe seems to be in crisis mode! Paris reported its largest single-day snowfall since 1987, flights have been canceled everywhere, Germany issued a statement encouraging people to hoard four days worth of food, Britain estimates that it is having the most severe winter in three decades (and may have to cancel Christmas!). Arles - Arles! - experienced power outages after 30 centimeters of snow - a foot of snow in Arles! - pulled down some power lines. This is a huge thing in Europe. It's lucky for us that we're in a place that shrugs it off and is prepared to deal with the after-effects of such wintery weather.
The city of Tartu deployed a number of front-end loaders to push the snow into piles in the pedestrian center of town. The kids loved them, and I was jealous of the fun they got to have. Backpacks were commonly used as sleds, which is a great idea.
The snow clears up every now and then, giving us a break. It hasn't been all blizzard for the past two weeks - we have had brief stretches of sun and blue sky - but it's been a pretty impressive run. We've found that it's important to get out when we can, even if it's cold and windy, because the darkness descends so quickly that it's easy to lose the opportunity.
This is our car after the worst of the snow. At least we have all-wheel drive and snow tires - there are a lot of struggling drivers on the roads, which is kind of scary. It's amazing to me that people wouldn't invest in a set of snow tires when they live in Estonia.

1 comment:

  1. // It's amazing to me that people wouldn't invest in a set of snow tires when they live in Estonia.

    Winter tires are mandatory in the winter time.
    Only an insane would drive with summer tires with snow. Winter tires or not, its pretty easy to get stuck in snow or iced road if you dont have 4x4.