Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blizzard in the USA - Jan / Feb 2011

All the locals seem to agree on one thing: it is not at all a cold winter compared to previous ones. Some jokingly add that it must be especially for me. We don’t have near this kind of winters in sunny South Africa. However, even though a tame winter compared to before the single digit Fahrenheit temperatures and below zero wind chill is just fine by me, thank you very much. (0 *F equals -18 *C)

Looking at the news bulletins many places in the US are experiencing their worst snow storms in many years. They must be getting all the excess snow and cold that we’re not getting. Of Chicago it is said to be of “historic proportions”. On Lakeshore drive hundreds of vehicles have been snowed in and eventually many commuters, who were still inside their vehicles and waiting to be rescued, were forced to abandon their vehicles to be taken to places of safety. Chicago has experienced wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour and in excess of 19 inches of snow in a matter of a day or two – so far.

In Pennsylvania they have a lot of ice and this one woman is out scraping the windshield of her car with – get this! – NO GLOVES ON!! I almost wanted to reach into the screen and hand her a pair of mine... maybe two.

The all time record of snow fall in Boston is 107 inches (2.7 meters). This season so far it is at 60 inches (expecting to be at 70 after this blizzard) (1.5 to 1.8 meters). In New England Mississippi snow farms are running out of space for all the snow with piles as high as five storeys already. That is a lot of snow and will be a lot of water to get rid of once all of this starts to melt.

One news station invited people on Facebook to say what they hated about the weather. The one I liked best is “complaining”. The one thing about humans is that they never seem to be satisfied. When it is hot they want cold, when it is cold they want hot. When it rains they complain and when it is dry they beg for rain. I like what the one man had to say: “It is what it is. We must deal with it.” If complaining doesn't change anything, what's the point, right?

Thousands of flights have been delayed – literally. I wonder how many cars have been smashed due to the slippery roads. Best place to be right now might very well be home.

But if you are driving in the snow, here are a few driving tips compliments of Mark Cox (Driving Coach, Bridgestone Winter Driving School – I wouldn’t mind doing a driving course with these guys :)

• Main 3 elements are breaking, steering and acceleration.

• Consider these things: traffic, whether it’s day or night, the kind of car you drive, the kind of tyres you have on it and your ability as a driver.

• 2 kinds of skids – front wheel and rear wheel skid

- Front wheel (turn the steering wheel and the car doesn’t respond): Take foot of breaks and gas and allow vehicle to coast while you slightly ease on steering (wheels toward straight), allowing front wheels to roll a bit more freely and regain grip.
- Rear wheel (car tends to spin): need to steer into the skid, accelerating just enough to transfer weight to the rear wheels to regain their grip.

• Sun glasses are good – give you better perception of depth with snow – where’s the road and where not because snow can make it all look the same.

• If your vehicle is stuck but it can still rock back and forth you can use your car floor mats by turning it upside down and it will give you just enough traction for the wheels to get unstuck.

For those encountering these weather conditions be safe and keep warm, guys!

I hope - for their sake - the guy sees the sign... ;)

Pics compliments of Yahoo news sites.

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