Snow

IMG_2823IMG_2824One of the main worries  when you come to Sweden is how the weather will treat you. Even some people from countries with the four seasons expect the worst from the Swedish winter. But, lastly, many consider that the worst is the darkness and not the cold.

However, snow is a particular thing. I am from a tropical country and, although I come from a city at 2600 m above the sea level, we usually do not know what to expect and are quite excited of knowing the snow. I already knew it but this is the first time I have the opportunity to see how it come and goes and how it behave. Because it is different from many other metereological events.

One of the main worries when you come to Sweden is how the weather will treat you. Even some people from countries with the four seasons expect the worst from the Swedish winter. But, at the end, many consider that the worst is the darkness and not the cold.

However, snow is a particular thing. I am from a tropical country and, although I come from a city at 2600 m above the sea level, we usually do not know what to expect and are quite excited of knowing the snow. I already knew it but this is the first time I have the opportunity to see it falling and melting, and how it behaves. Because it is different from many other meteorological events.

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Rain comes and goes, even if it is a long raining. You can protect yourself from sun by hats or going indoors. Wind is also an issue but usually only for some hours. However the snow has long lasting effects. Cold is not one of them because usually is quite “warm” when it snows (around 0ºC) and the sunny winter days could be very cold, actually. Snow is beautiful when it falls in enough amounts and it is lovely to feel it crushing under your boots; at least it is for me and is one of the moments I expect from the winter.

If the floor is not that cold and the temperature is not low the snow starts to melt quickly and could create slippery conditions in the sidewalks, but no ice is formed yet. If a layer of snow is formed people walk on top of it (what else we can do) and it becomes a slippery ice. To avoid that, they spread a mix of salt, sand and other things to keep streets rough and keeping ice away. The cars still slip but less. On the sidewalks they spread sand with tiny stones that help you to grab to the floor. But these two primary prevention measures become a kind of mud and your shoes bring it inside the buildings. Ugly thing! If the temperature rises the snow start to melt and the mud becomes worst and this could happen weeks after the snowfall if during the winter the air temperature does not rise enough.

We see that the effect of snow remains more that the very snowfall. That is the reason why I say that snow has a very different and longer effect those other weather phenomena. But snow also has immediate effects. The environment becomes suddenly brighter and you can notice places you were not aware of before because now they are highlighted with snow. I do not know how it is walking in a very thick layer of snow, I have not had the chance but I think it will be quite challenge and it would be in the short term.

But the immediate effect I love the most is that, when snow fall and ice is formed, car drivers reduce their speed, that is very fast during the rest of the year. And I feel safe.

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