Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Snow Trick

Like all the poor people who went through this yesterday, I could not get my car out of my parking spot yesterday morning. I slashed away at the snow in front of my tires and wrangled a neighbour into helping me push the tin can. My neighbour shook his head and said I need to find three men who could push my car. I looked up and down the empty street and realized my man-finding prospects were dim. The neighbour suggested I find an ice pick and chip away at the five-centimetres of ice underneath my tires. One very strained arm later, I gave up.

Surely there’s got to be a trick that uses brains instead of brawn, I thought. A quick phone survey of friends and family came up with the easiest of solutions.

Courtesy of Matt, here’s the little trick next time you can’t get your car out of a snowed-in parking spot:

1. Find two towels that you meant to throw away.
2. Wedge a towel under each front tire.
3. Drive over the towels.

It took me less than thirty seconds to extricate my car from its prison.

P.S. It works in mud too, according to Matt.

Survival of the Fittest

What used to be a sidewalk

Vancouver’s recent turn for the colder may have accomplished a number of things (especially if you were one of those who scored some free time away from work or school because of it) but an unexpected side effect has been what I can only optimistically describe as “a strengthening of the lower mainland’s arboreal gene pool.”

I suppose it’s a testament to just how long it’s been since the city received this volume of snow and ice, but it’s amazing to me how many fallen trees there are — at least one per block in residential areas, and far more in parks and forests.

It seems our rain-loving moisture-spoiled local trees don’t invest much in the root system segment of their portfolio.

The results (aside from the effects to the poor trees themselves, of course): downed power lines, the occasional crushed car parked on the curb, blocked roads and sidewalks, and I’m sure a few woodland critters who’ve found their high-rise condo suddenly converted into row houses.

I’m curious how the cleanup is going to work. Perhaps after the towing companies catch up on their backlog of stalled cars, they can earn some extra cash by hauling off upturned tress as well?

Winter Wonderland at Last

After yesterday’s aborted business trip to Burnaby, low speed braking problems, a tree falling across a road, and uphill tantrums, my car managed to get home only to see my parking spot taken. The bastard eventually moved but not before the roof collapsed on a family member’s car (which amazingly got away with only a small dent). And not before my partner fell in the middle of the road and lost his iPod cover forever to the treachery of the blizzard.

After an hour and a half of digging out my car and re-parking it in its rightful spot this morning, I can finally enjoy the beauty of the weather. From the inside, with the curtains drawn and a generous helping of macaroni and cheese. I’ll worry about getting to work tomorrow. (Tuesdays are my Mondays but the joke will be on me when I drag my sorry ass over the frozen-over slush the rest of you will scrape over our streets today.)

Between staring at the white serenity outside, I’ve visited Flickr to spy on what others in the Lower Mainland see:

Snowball silliness

The nice thing about snow in Vancouver is that when it comes around, it’s treated like a novelty. Unlike out east where the white stuff loses its charm very quickly, our own snow tends to clear up pretty quick (at least away from the mountains, where we like it to be). Hence, perfectly normal adults get in touch with their inner child on days like today.

Walking (well, sliding) through the slush this afternoon, I saw three guys on three different corners practicing their snowball-throwing skills on poor defenseless fire hydrants and a brick wall (I’m not really sure what the guy hitting the brick wall was going for, actually. Not much skill required there).

Have fun while it lasts… and drive safe, y’all. Tomorrow morning’s going to be a bad day for paying deductibles on your cars..

Snow Hits Vancouver

In a row

There seemed no better way to spend a free Saturday than to check out some of the early snow on Vancouver’s local ski hills (well, one of them anyway — there’s only so ambitious a guy can be), and I can safely say it didn’t disappoint.

The snow at Cypress was nearly Whistler-grade, with fresh powder almost a half a metre deep in places, with a base of nearly 2 metres, and plenty more coming down during the day. And to think I’d nearly driven two hours to break in my new Whistler Blackcomb Edge card, when it was this good right next to home.

Imagine my surprise, however, at around 3:30pm when my poor out-of-shape legs weren’t going to tolerate any more boarding for the day, when I drove back down the mountain towards the city only to find that the snow . . . wasn’t stopping. Nor did it stop even upon reaching sea level.

Granted, it wasn’t sticking to anything then, but now, looking out at my car, it’s nearly completely covered.

. . . As was the cat, who chose not to come inside when originally called. A nice dusting of snow on his head sure changed his mind.

The weather is always worse somewhere else

I kind of thought that the storms that have been picking on the Pacific Northwest had hit us with the same effect everywhere. Actually, it seems our fellow MetroBloggers just a few hours south in Seattle are getting hit by rain… plus hail, plus transformer-exploding lightning. There’s a really neat picture of the lightning flashes on the city with the post.

MetroBlogging Toronto is reporting a different kind of meteorological effect that produced some very cool pictures from the CN tower. Neat stuff.

PS: I promise, this is my last weather-related post for a while… hopefully.

The water is still not safe but coffee is

Vancouver Mural #1937

Originally uploaded by paul clarke photos.

The water in Vancouver is still not safe to drink, and the exciting (fucking annoying) part of that equation is that there’s no time frame from the authorities as to when it might be [cbc]. So what does that mean? Are they just under promising so that they can over deliver? Is it that hopeless that they don’t want to start an exodus from the city? Does the mayor have shares in a bottled water company and he just wants to drive the share prices up before they announce the news.

The good news is that our coffee drive economy is back on track. Thankfully it seems that the standard cafe coffee makers boil water hot enough to deal with any health concerns created from the murky water that was in turn created by the storm. According to the CBC:

Ian Tostenson, the president of the B.C. Restaurant and Food Service Association, said a meeting with health officials cleared the way for the resumption of full service, provided the water is heated to at least 74 C.

Vivianna Zanocco of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority said that’s hot enough to lift the ban.

“We’ve talked to people who have more of an intricate knowledge of the equipment they use, and we’re satisfied it would do a good enough job that if there was any bacteria in the water there would be no threat.”

So hurray. Now I don’t drink coffee, but at everyone else in Vancouver does and I ddn’t want to be in town when everyone starts to go through caffine withdrawls. I was planning on leaving until the whole thing blows over (no pun intended) but thankfully now I can stay.

Things to do on a rainy day

The raindrops keep falling on my head.

This is reminding me of my first couple of weeks in Vancouver about five years back. It had rained staight on through for about two weeks. I was on the phone with my brother when I mentioned that I was giving it another week. If it didn’t stop by then, I was moving back to Winnipeg.

Fortunately for me, the rain did stop – after four more days – and Winnipeg remains on the other side of the Rockies from me. I’ve even got used to the rain. Heck, it beats minus thirty in a snowstorm – even with a boil-water advisory.

Some will be able to spend their wet weekends indoors with their Playstation 3’s. Not me, though. I just wish I could think of an activity that would be fun in the rain. You’d think Vancouverites would have invented one by now.

Wind, rain and brown water: the day after

Library at night

Originally uploaded by selva.

Last night I predicted brown water for Vancouver residents [mbv] and today my water is a brownish colour. So the tip I got from a city employee that went through a few people before getting to me was accurate. Hopefully it’ll clear up by later today, but for now I’m glad that I’ve got a container of water in the fridge. It might not be all across town but at least where I live downtown it is, though it doesn’t run brown if you fill up a glass with it you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Meanwhile the CBC is reporting at least 125,000 people are still without power along the South Coast, and about 40 people had to evacuate their homes in West Vancouver because of the threat of falling trees [cbc]. I’m actually quite shocked at how much damage the storm did, and then how quickly it just fucked off and left us alone. According to Global News the winds got up to hurricane level, which seems to be over stating things, but then that’s Global.

Hopefully everyone is okay, and the majority of us can be thankful that all we’ve got to deal with is a little brown water.

Weathering the storm

JJ Beans

Originally uploaded by Productionteams.

Rebecca’s already blogged about the rainstorm [mbv] but there’s a few more notes that I’ve got. First off there was a building collapse in East Vancouver [cbc]. The four-storey building was under construction and then sort of fell over because of the storm. The CBC reports, “The Vancouver fire department said there were no injuries in the accident on Commercial Drive at Pandora Street, between Hastings Street and the waterfront.”

According to the Vancouver Sun [vs]:

In the pre-dawn hours, a tsunami watch was issued for the outer coast of the province after a strong 8.3-magnitude earthquake northeast of Japan. It was cancelled after several hours when regions of Japan and Alaska reported only minor 30-centimetre waves.

Though I can’t find confirmation anywhere online a fellow who works for the City of Vancouver said that tomorrow the city expects us all to have undrinkable brown water because of the storm. That’s through a few different people, so I’m not willing to give it scoop status quite yet. However if you’re wanting to drink water tomorrow I’d suggest filling a pitcher or something and save it in the fridge.

And tomorrow it’s going to be easy pickings if you’re in the market for a new umbrella, with abandoned ones strewn throughout the city.

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