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Snow on snow – what can happen if you don’t get periodic thaws in winter


Original YT playout date: 17 February 2010
Duration: 4:47

This is an exercise in using the new Vado in a similar night setting to the way I’ve recently been using the old one. Low light is a challenge to any camera – will the new Vado still produce a more watchable image?

The discussion centres on how Warsaw, unlike Moscow, only shovels snow into heaps during winter and doesn’t transport it out of town or into parks or down to the Vistula. This isn’t a problem most winters as there is fall and thaw, fall and thaw every week or so, but we had snow on snow.

The scenario is that we now have more snow just sitting around in ridges and heaps, well compacted, that if a sudden thaw comes now the water has nowhere to go but subways, subterranean garages and people’s cellars. The city hasn’t cleared the access to drains properly and anybody with the normal power of observation can see that there’s a big risk of thaw flooding in Warsaw.

It’s now one month on from when I made this video and the situation has only got worse. Four weeks more subzero temperatures, and more snow falling on the old snow. Right now outside it’s about 30-40% worse than I’m showing on the video, and the closer we get to spring the closer we are to the scenario where everything thaws in a flash and we are all knee deep in water and floating dogs excrement. The city should be doing more, but if you know anyone in Warsaw or other similarly affected city, get them to remove their belongings in the next few weeks from any cellars that could be affected, and get them to clear snow away from drains, so that the meltwater has somewhere to run off, and not into their homes. Of course, when it happens it will be in all the media as a big surprise, but I’m telling you ahead of time, there’s no surprise about it. Use your eyes, mayors, councillors, and residents. If there’s a huge mountain of snow next to the entrance to your underground garage now, blocking the drain, you should be able to work out without too much difficulty where that water will be in a couple of weeks’ time.
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