22 January 2017

The Weather & Issues Therefrom

The weather we've experienced over the last week has gotten nearly everyone's attention, here. Having had three consecutive anomalous mild, icy winters - bare "winter" at all, by our standards - the return to a normal weather pattern has caught newbies off-guard.

There is quite a difference between ice and snow pellets at 31°, and 8" of snow at -20. The avalanche danger is elevated. No, that's not a mountain joke.

And Anchorage has had a couple of deaths which are being attributed to exposure. It happens. Usually the elderly or infirm, and sometimes doing something as innocuous as going to the mailbox. One slips and falls, hits his or her head, and that's where they spend the rest of their life.

It doesn't take very long.

Today's it currently 10° above, and the weatherman predicts another few inches of snow. We'll have falling temps later, they say, and slide below zero again tonight.

One must be prepared. Snow boots, ice cleats, layered clothing ... hats, gloves, scarves. We don't "put up" with the weather; we protect ourselves from it.

Yes, it's a pain to put on snow boots and a parka to walk to the mailbox, but it sure beats the alternative.

Our daughters, bless 'em, will be clearing the driveway once it gets light. I've got a couple of recently-arrived boxes to open: new speakers for the computer, and a stool for the workbench in the garage. That latter one will aid in putting on and removing said snow boots, too.

Now that the weather has warmed back up to normal temps, the two smaller SUVs will come out of the garage, as well. My wife's has no block heater, and she greatly appreciated getting into a warm vehicle when it was so far below zero.

And there's something else: both my wife and younger daughter drive late-model Ford Escapes. We've discovered a serious flaw: because of the new design, the tailgate and rear window get completely packed with icy snow. In fact, the rear wiper becomes so encrusted with ice that it won't even make contact with the glass.

I've had to hold the blade away from the window with my hand, and firmly tap the assembly with a hammer just to get the ice off.

My previous-generation Explorer doesn't have this problem, and it's made me rethink my plan to get a newer one. As a result, I suspect my next chariot will be a pickup. Or a TARDIS.

Okay, probably a truck. :)


drjim said...

Yep, you have to dress for the weather, not just complain about it.

A couple of years before I met my current wife, I bought a brand spanking new Alpha Industries N-3B parka in Sage Green to replace the one I'd bought in the fall of 1969 which had served me well for almost forty years, but was just flat worn out.

The zipper had been replaced twice, many of the buttons didn't match, the real wolf fur around the 'snorkle' was mostly gone, and it had an assortment of stains that wouldn't come out with dry cleaning.

When I moved in, she looked at it, and asked if was planning on any arctic deployments.

I explained to her that I'd bought my first one before I started going to the local junior college many years ago, and it was just "one of those things" that had served me well and I thought I should have on hand "just in case".

The junior college I went to for two years was way out on the West side of town, up on a high plateau surrounded by corn fields, and the parking lot was a good quarter mile from where the temporary buildings were located while they built the new junior college.

People laughed at me until right before the Christmas break when we got clobbered with sub-zero temperatures, high winds, and several feet of snow.

I think the surplus store where I got it from sold out that week!

Rev. Paul said...

That's a great lesson, Jim, and the only difference here is that no one would have laughed at the parka. I see people wearing them occasionally as a fashion statement, when it's not cold enough to need one, but everybody's got 'em. Well done.

drjim said...

People not only didn't realize they'd need something like that in the winter at Joliet Junior College, they had absolutely no idea that such things existed, or where to buy them from!

Being somewhat of a military history buff, and having watched the original "The Thing From Another World" numerous times, I figured that the military would have proper cold weather gear, so I went to "Union War Surplus" to look, and yep, the clerk knew exactly what I was looking for.