Snow day!

I woke up yesterday morning to a 50 cm thick blanket of snow covering the city. Of course I grabbed a camera and took some photos. Enjoy!
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Winter in Reykjavík

Yesterday we had the first snow-storm warning for the south-west corner of the country. It turned out to be more windy than stormy (in Reykjavík at least), but there was a considerable snowfall, meaning the snow-plows were in constant action all day long. This was taken yesterday afternoon when I was setting out for a stroll down the Laugavegur after work. Because the camera freezes an exact moment, rain and snow rarely look as impressive in photos as they do in reality (unless you do a long exposure, and then they look worse than they really are), but this gives a pretty good idea of what it was like when the weather was calming down:

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I walked to work that morning and because you learn early, when you live in a place like Iceland, to be prepared for anything, weather-wise, I dressed in my snow-storm outfit of several layers of clothes, down jacket, wind-proof pants, scarf, woolen cap, mittens and snowboots. This turned out to be a slight overkill, but it might have been necessary if the weather had turned out as bad as was expected. Here’s a selfie:

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And here are a couple of photos taken early this morning.

As you can see, there is a bit of snow, certainly enough to make it difficult for small cars to get in and out of parking spaces:

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Oh, the luxury of a heated parking lot!

(See explanation below the photo)

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The geothermal water from the central heating system goes into into a grid of pipes under the parking lot and melts the snow before going back to the pumping station to be heated up again through heat exchange and re-circulated into the heating system.

Of course, heated sidewalks and parking lots only really work when there is relatively little frost, say less than -3 °C.

When the temperatures drop lower than that, the heating system melts just enough snow to form a crust of ice with a thin layer of water underneath, which makes it rather ‘interesting’ to drive and walk on.

When the water has nowhere to go – as happens when the gutters are blocked by snow and ice – it forms a slush with the snow on top and you had better be wearing waterproof footwear to walk in it. Otherwise, it’s a fine thing to have.

 

Snow day

Today is the first real snow day we we have had in Reykjavík this winter. I don’t count the couple of times there has been some dusting of snow.

I walked to work this morning and enjoyed the clear, calm weather. Because Reykjavík is so close to the sea, we get a sea breeze almost every day, but it dies down overnight and if you get up early enough it will often be quite still outside. Going to work around seven in the morning means there is little traffic, no pollution and the snow was more or less pristine, except on the side-walks and roads, which had been cleared and were already turning grey-brown.

The owners of these cars will have a good 10 minutes’ work dusting off the snow and clearing the ice from the windshields:

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Trees look like sculptures with snow on the branches:

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Sculpture outside a house I pass on my way to work:

 

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There is something deeply satisfying about seeing pristine snow:

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