Comments

Fuseblower's picture
Fuseblower
1

Umbrellas for snow? Well that's a new one on me... you're supposed to *enjoy* snow!

All umbrellas should be banned forthwith. Completely. Unequivocally. But hey, I think I've said that before...

Fuseblower's picture
Fuseblower
0

I've just spent two days in Rouen, France. My apparent extreme prejudice against umbrellas most definitely *isn't* prejudice. Nearly had my eye poked out about six times...

DEATH TO ALL UMBRELLAS!!!!!!

LordOfTheBored's picture
LordOfTheBored
1

What kind of normal winter is THAT? Water is not supposed to be HARD. It's just plain UNNATURAL

This comment has been brought to you by a lifetime spent in Texas, land of heat.

AzurisCaine
0

This is also endorsed by part of a life time spent in North Carolina and now the remainder to be spent in South Carolina.

General Specific's picture
General Specific
1

Also endorsed by one who was born in Texas and now resides in South Carolina

Gilhelmi's picture
Gilhelmi
0

I created an account for one reason only.

I have to tease Texans every time the subject of snow comes up. Because just the subject closes all roads there for 2 days. lol

Vagabondknight's picture
Vagabondknight
0

I would have thought (as you recently hosted the Winter Olympics) that winter would be a no-brainer for Vancouverites. What did I miss?

I know the people in the Puget Sound region baffle me during the winter. They ski, frequently, yet can't figure out how to drive in flurries. (See winter storm of 2007 debacle for details) If it drops below freezing most people freak out and have no clue how to dress. They refuse to salt the walkways for fear of killing the ecosystems, yet the chemicals they do use end up putting hundreds in hospitals for slips, trips and falls. Originally from Philly, I'm used to all this so it doesn't bug me till it gets over 4' and then I have some problems. I just don't get it.

I have to agree with Fuse though; umbrellas? WTH?

CrazyAlmostCanuk's picture
CrazyAlmostCanuk
0

Remember how much trouble there was during the Vancouver Winter Olympics, with winter conditions making it a poor environment for most events?

As for difficulty with folks from around here driving in snow, it is easily explained. When we want to go skiing, we drive up thoroughly plowed routes to ski areas, the low areas rarely get much snow, and there aren't enough plows to competently handle it if we get snow in the lowlands.

There are only a few days, maybe a week, back to back, where the roads remain wet enough, while it is cold enough, to form ice on them. Then add the nature of the lowlands topography, which tends towards sharp inclines, with fairly significant valleys in-between. With this terrain, and the fact that the watersheds are easily accessed by runoff, and ALWAYS have a year-round stream, river, or creek running through them, there is little to no effort or expense applied to water management on streets...with the amount of rain we get, a storm drain system would simply cost too much with stoppages from blockage every year requiring governmental attention...we just let it run downhill, and MAYBE put some money or effort into directing it to a watershed after it hits the valleys.

Which means when winter hits, the snow doesn't get plowed, gets driven over enough to make it wet, instead of powdery, has no place to drain to, so freezes as it flows down the street, then people start sliding down the hills, or losing control on the thin layers of slick surface ice on the lowlands streets.

Not sanding is somewhat about environmental control, due to the fact that our water handling system is as described...salt water flowing in large amounts into these watersheds would wipe out the life, which would end their functional use...without the plants to hold the soil, the creeks and streams would soon become marshes, and no longer function. But it is ALSO because salting is useless, under the circumstances. Sure, it would melt the ice on the hills..which would run downhill, and re-freeze, at the points where traction is MOST important, whereas sand and tire chains only make dirty ice with a gritty texture that you can get SOME purchase on (once the sand is laid, which, as I said, isn't done right off, due to the number of plows we keep).

This coming from a guy who's lived in Kansas City, Chicago, Western Washington, Central Georgia, and Arizona, and therefor has seen the various methods of water management, and seen how and why they're done as they are, in each area.

Rashkavar
0

Mostly accurate, but you're missing one thing. When we get snow in the lowlands, it's a very wet form of snow. Perfect for snowball fights and the like. We don't get powder - it's not cold enough. This kind of packable snow also has abysmal traction.
I was in Sudbury from late August to early December in 2008 on a work term - got teased on behalf of all Vancouverites for not being able to drive in snow, right up until the week where we somehow got the same kind of snow Vancouver always gets. All in all, they were even worse than Vancouverites are, as they lack even the small amount of practice Vancouverites get. (Sudbury goes from temperate to freezing-your-butt-off within a couple of days, so it usually doesn't get the kind of snow that comes from the only-kinda-freezing temperatures.)

Fuseblower's picture
Fuseblower
0

Hmm... I live on a poxy little island on the East side of the N.Atlantic that's about the size of New York State. But hey, we invented railways, back in the good old days when it was colder. Nowadays the company that runs the trains has been known to use the excuse, when it snows, that it's 'the wrong type of snow' - presumably the sort with abysmal traction, as you describe. Since this is the only type we ever get, that's rather pathetic, isn't it?

Anyway, do you really get much better traction with powdered snow? Or is this really because the whole place is colder, and the snow doesn't melt so easily when compressed?

CrazyAlmostCanuk's picture
CrazyAlmostCanuk
0

Not exactly...powder snow is harder and more crystalline...it tends more to "remain snow" and get stirred up or pushed around, unlike what we get (good snowball snow, as said above), which will turn to slush and water, then re-freeze as a layer of ice at the slightest instigation.

Rash seems to have re-stated most of what I was saying about our "lowlands snow" being very wet, and tending to easily be converted to water which then freezes. Great snowballs, crap driving conditions.

At the higher elevations, where the ski areas are, which we access via well plowed roads, the conditions are often perfect for real powder...but when they aren't, and the snow is soggy, it quickly gets compressed and glazed, leaving rough tracks all over the place, and making even the relatively smooth areas absolutely impossible to maintain good control on (wearing skis or snowboard, I mean). I've been up to Whistler (near Vancouver) and Baker (near me, in Bellingham, WA) in both conditions, multiple times, and have learned that our weather just doesn't make for stable snowboarding...you'll go up one day to 8 inches of perfect powder that gives you GREAT control, at the cost of some speed, and the next day, all of that powder has become soggy, heavy snow, or glaze ice on the surface...which lets you go like scat...but you get caught in other peoples grooves, and have difficulty turning, making it hard to control speed, or even direction.

This changeability is what I recall of winters in Chicago and Kansas City, where you'd get two or three days of the gritty "ice sand" type snow, a few days or a week of the huge, light "powder" flakes that were pretty, and made nice snow for the scenery, but was too dry for snowballs, and a bunch of time when it was just slush falling at a slow enough rate as to be mistaken for snow (which made the BEST snowballs--or should I say "iceballs"?--a middle school kid could dream of. Peg someone upside the head with one of those, you might as well have hit them with a rock.)

Rashkavar
0

I kinda got the impression you were blaming the crappy snow driving in Vancouver on the fact that snow's so rare that people aren't used to it, rather than having snow that becomes ice easily. Hence my mention of Sudbury getting wet snow for once a few years back and ending up with even more trouble. Sorry if I was wrong.

There is a bit more to it than having snow that easily packs to ice, though. Ice provides excellent traction when it's stable. Ever poke the ice at a skating rink? It's usually sticky (because it's so cold it's freezing the miniscule traces of sweat that are on your skin regardless of whether or not your exercising). When the temperature outside is borderline freezing, though, it melts from the top down, creating a water slick on the ice - friction against tires adds more heat so it's even possible for a degree or so below freezing. The water slick is what sends you sliding in straight lines no matter what you try to do.

antisense's picture
antisense
0

Having just moved to Kingstown, Ontario from Vancouver a month ago, I must say that many people here are pretty sissy when it comes to rain.

Liquid water? Falling from the sky? *hide indoors until it's over*

Jam's picture
Jam
1

Fall has been relatively dry this year so don't worry, another season or two and it'll get to you. We're not *sissies* about rain... not at all. We're just so sick and tired of it raining that -- really, whatever it is that you needed outside was not that important anyway. It can wait.

Fuseblower's picture
Fuseblower
0

I just hope for your sake that the emergency services don't take the same attitude!

antisense's picture
antisense
0

Nuuuuuuu. I grew up in Vancouver. Just move to Ontario where people literally hide indoors when it rains until it's over.

Rashkavar
0

If people did that out here, nothing would happen during the winter. It'd be like hiding from snow while living on the prairies.

Junodog's picture
Junodog
0

Where I come from we get excited when it's *warm* enough to snow. Which happens quite a lot, seeing as our yearly snowfall record is over 400 inches. With all that it kind of makes sense that we'd get good at dealing with winter.

Even weather.com thinks we're hardcore:
http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/snowiest-citie...

akpak's picture
akpak
0

Pssh, I used to live here:
http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/snowiest-citie...

#1 baby.

jwithro3's picture
jwithro3
0

I thought you were smoking at first in the first panel.

Schmorgluck's picture
Schmorgluck
0

And again I see that Vancouverites are pretty similar to Nantais. We don't like extreme weather. We complain if the temperature is below 5°C or above 30°C. Because of that, we like rain because it makes winter days warmer, and summer days cooler.

The main difference I see is that in Nantes, few people actually use umbrellas, be it for rain or snow.

sakuraruby's picture
sakuraruby
0

Baahahaha personally I'm leaving Florida and flying to the East coast of Canada for snowed in Christmas goodness C: Quebec is getting pretty cold this year :D

First time I'll see snow in 7 years!! :DD

Jeziah's picture
Jeziah
0

Meanwhile in Ottawa, all the snow has melted.

Jeziah's picture
Jeziah
0

The oddest thing they're doing is using umbrellas, actually. I suppose you'd get a lot of rain and maybe umbrellas would feel more natural as a result, but I've never seen an umbrella out in any but the wettest of snowfalls, myself :s

SwiftAusterity's picture
SwiftAusterity
1

Saint Louisians freak out quite a bit when it snows, despite the fact that it snows at least once per year.

Granted, I would have been happy with snow last time I was in Winnipeg in the winter. You don't get much snow at -30C >.>

AlmostLiterally's picture
AlmostLiterally
0

Shoot. "Normal winter" here is finally deciding it is too cold for ice cream (not cold enough for hot cocoa though) and maybe wearing a jacket.

miasaki666's picture
miasaki666
0

RAAAAGE I say. I live in Waterloo Ontario, and we're having a 5 degreeC, rainy, mud filled December!!!! GIVE US BACK OUR WINTER VANCOUVER!!!!

maybe I should draw a counter comic to this, with the view on our side of the backyard.

MelSkunk's picture
MelSkunk
1

We have the opposite problem here. it was raining with a high of 14.. *14* two days ago, and I saw people suspiciously shuffling around in winter jackets with the hoods up to keep the rain off, as if expecting the weather to go "Haha, just kidding" and suddenly drop an ice storm on their head.

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