Sunday, January 18, 2009

Positively F-frigid

The last few days have been very cold indeed. A couple of snow showers of an inch or two, but but very, very cold. Early morning temperatures have read down to -14C from the car on the school run, exceptional, even for here. In addition, snow either falls and partially melts or freezing rain covers everything in an often thick layer of ice, so-called ice storms.

Since US electrical utilities still use wires stretched between wooden poles to go the final few miles to most consumers it means that either trees loaded with ice crash onto the cables, or the weight of ice on the wires themselves brings them down so power is a frequent victim.

I think many visitors to the US are surprised at the state of its infrastructure; massive cables strung alongside urban roads, potholes, post-industrial wastelands, rusty bridges, run-down railways, and even cell-phones seem stuck in the 80s. I think we'll be hearing a lot about this from the new US President. At least, America should hope so ...