The forecast today was for rain changing over to wet snow, with accumulations in the 2-4 cm range. About one pm I noticed that the snow had started, and the flakes were getting big. By three pm visibility was way down, and the ground had turned white. Now this snow was the type with big flakes that is damp enough to stick to anything, and to accumulate; you know, perfect snowball material. However, there wasn’t any wind, and it didn’t look too bad.
About this time a friend decided to go out and move his car to a flatter spot. When he returned, the verdict was slush on the roads; the type that compacts and partially freezes as it is driven over, and is almost as slippery as black ice. However, this didn’t impact me directly, so I took a few pictures and went back to work.
People still at work in the A&A Building
This way to the cafeteria.
Snow falling on maples.
By about 5 pm the snow had started to diminish, but the traffic was getting seriously backed up out on the streets. Then at 5:30 pm the power went out (again)! This happens regularly here, and usually I have to grope around to get my stuff out of my interior office. But this time I was prepared! I used the LCD on my trusty camera, and it was bright enough to get myself organised, help some other people find their stuff, and go to where there was light.
Then I looked out the windows with some friends while they discussed options for getting home, and what they needed to do with their cars, while I quietly enjoyed the view. I had my camera with me, so I started to take a few night shots, then prepared to leave. While crossing the campus I heard a bunch of young voices yelling. When I got closer I saw it was a snowball fight. When they saw me the call “Cease Fire!” rang out, then they graciously let me make it almost all the way across the free fire zone. Then the clarion call “Resume Fire!” made me duck and run, and I was only hit by one snowball.
The White Witch’s back yard.
Now while I was walking along, I saw a number of small broken branches on the snow, and heard some snowfalls from the roofs and the trees. So I kept a weather eye out. A few minutes later I heard a loud cracking sound followed by a dull thump, and then passed by a newly broken branch over ten feet long. This made me think that the power outages, which were highly erratic and localised, were probably caused mainly by branches breaking and heavy snow on the lines.
I continued on my way home, and the traffic was still tied up, with cars slithering over the road, and intersection lights down in places. This snow had perfect timing, with the major dump ending just before rush hour. When I reached Quinpool Road, the south side was without power, the north side was well lit, and some of the intersection had traffic lights working while others didn’t. Quinpool is a main artery to the suburbs, so things were really lined up. To top it off, there was an abandoned car in the right lane heading out, and a car getting a boost almost in an intersection.
Abandoned car of a certain vintage. South side of road blacked out.
Waiting to finally get home. North side lit, south side not.
Finally there were the poor users of mass transit. I came to a bus stop with wet university students looking cold and miserable, and peering into the lights of the oncoming traffic oozing along like cold magma. As I was passing them I saw a bus mired in the traffic, but slowly approaching. Then as I read the sign, I imagined what the students were feeling and felt sad for them. Imagine if it was the bus you were waiting for so long, in the slush, the dark, and the cold.
I walked the rest of the way home. The power was on, it was warm, and I got out of my wet sneakers (the forecast had only been for 2-4 cm, after all). Being a pedestrian is the way to go, at least in Halifax.