Friday, February 13, 2009

Well that was a decent cleansing

It turned out that the rain that was supposed to happen Wednesday night and didn't, ended up coming down all day Thursday. That was supposed to turn into snow by the end of the day, but it never did. So we got some major melting and then a nice dry, cold night that evaporated most of the thin ice off the sidewalks, leaving them much cleaner (except for the buckshot melting no-slip gravel that is everywhere). Some (all right, most) households did not take advantage of this glorious opportunity to chop and clear their sidewalks, so now they have little ice hillocks on either side, making walking difficult and giving a generally untidy appearance. I think I'll get drunk tonight and go up and down the block painting a red X on the doors of all those whose sidewalks are unacceptably icy.

Today is sunny and comfortably cold (like -6), with little wind and a much cleaner atmosphere thanks to the air-scrubbing rain and a lack of woodstove use over the warm days. It's definitely winter again (we'll be in the -4/-11 range for the next 5 days) but you can see the concrete, a lot of the dogshit was swept away and the birds are singing. We'll probably get some good snow again, but the worst of winter is over I'd say and there is hope again.

5 comments:

mare said...

Sublimated, not evaporated. The ice went from solid straight into a gas. It's amazing what a cold night with wind can do. Thursday night I walked home over very slippery sidewalks, covered in a couple of mms of ice and this morning it was all gone.

Buzby said...

You should write a book of vignettes about your winters in Montreal. These are great.

Olman Feelyus said...

Ah, Mare, thanks a lot! Yes, sublimation. Most awesome. A fellow explained this to me, that in quite cold weather, you actually lose a lot of snow and ice mass, but I didn't quite believe him. However, from what I've observed, it does seem to really happen. The confidence in your comment and use of a real scientific term seals the deal.

Any scientific person care to explain exactly how it works? What is the chemical change that causes the ice to turn to gas?

Olman Feelyus said...

Thanks, Buzby!

mare said...

Sublimation is actually physics, not chemistry.

http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watercyclesublimation.html