The Big Thaw


-- चार हजार चार सौ सतत्तर --

Quite the varying weather around the area as of this morning. Shobhit had been considering driving in to work this morning, but to both our surprise, after it had turned to rain for some time last night, around 6:30 this morning it was once again snowing on Capitol Hill. I had really hoped the rain would wash a lot of the snow away, but at only a couple degrees above freezing, the thaw as of this morning was not exactly rapid.

Most places were still rather slushy, although curiously, some blocks had packing snow still on their sidewalks while others were so slushy you could start to see the pavement beneath. In any case, King County Metro busses were still on "snow emergency" today, so I was fully prepared to walk the entire way to work again. But! Once I got to Pine & Melrose (a .7 mile walk), a #10 had turned the corner off Melrose onto Pine, and a long enough line of people waited to get on that I was able to rush up and get on that bus -- which I then rode to 3rd, a ride of all of about half a mile. It still saved me maybe seven minutes of walking, as well as being out in the rain -- which, indeed, once I got off the bus on 3rd Avenue, the Capitol Hill snow had easily given way to rain. Most of downtown streets, in fact, were clear of snow. Sidewalks were a bit spottier -- if they had ever been shoveled, they were now clear; if not, they ranged between slushy and still-icy.

So then I walked the last mile again to work from there, totaling my walking this morning at about a mile and three quarters.

Backing up from that a bit, I suppose I should mention that Shobhit got stuck in the snow on Capitol Hill on his way home from work, but hardly close to home: he was at Roanoke and 10th, and just to make things even more complicated, of all days, yesterday he forgot his phone at work. So, I was at 12th and Pine on my walk home from work -- literally two and a half blocks from home -- and I get this call with no name on it, just the number showing and the city it's from: Albuquerque, NM. The hell? Figuring it was a telemarketer, I ignored the call. But, as soon as it stopped ringing, the call came again, so I decided to answer it.

It was Shobhit. He had called me using the phone of one guy who had stopped to help him out. He had left his phone at work, and they were having trouble attaching the tire chains we had purchased in December for our trip over Snoqualmie Pass on our way to Idaho but wound up never needing. So, here I'll past what I already wrote on Twitter and Facebook:

Shobhit bought tire chains as a precaution for when we went over the pass on our way to Idaho in December, and we wound up not needing them. He tried to return them, and they said he can only return them after winter if they don’t ever get used for six months. ‬

‪I kept telling him he should just keep them, because if he ever does need them he’ll sure be glad he had them. He really wanted that refund though, but had no choice but to keep them for now. ‬

‪Then today his car got stuck in the snow on 10th Ave E & E Roanoke. ‬


I told him more than once: aren't you glad you had those tire chains? Now, granted, I was the only one who had already put them on once to practice back in December, and I'm pretty confident that had I been in the car with him yesterday, I would have gotten them on in half the time, since I had already done it before. Actually Shobhit might have too, had he fucking bothered to come down for the one practice round I had already done. He loves to say he leaves stuff like that to me because I'm "better at it," but that's transparent flattery designed to cover up his own abject laziness.

Still, after that first call, he asked me to try and come meet him. This would have been a 2-mile walk, and although he was convinced he was going to be stuck another couple of hours, I was pretty convinced he and whoever was with him would figure out the chains by the time I got to them. Guess which one of us was right?

I was probably roughly halfway there when I got the call again, telling me the "Samaritans" -- a second guy had also stopped to help -- had gotten the chains on, and he would come and get me. By now I was on 10th Avenue, not far from where it veers over into Broadway to the south, and so I stopped walking north and waited under a bus shelter until he made it to me and stopped to pick me up. I heard him thanking the guys on the phone right before he hung up. Then he picked me up a little while after that, and drove us both, fairly slowly and very carefully, the rest of the way home, via Aloha St and then 15th.

Once we got into the garage of our building, we removed the chains, with some difficulty -- and getting my sleeves and hands pretty wet -- but we did it. Shobhit lamented later that "today cost me a hundred dollars." Jesus Christ. He spent that hundred dollars two months ago! And maybe he should instead be grateful he had those chains yesterday at all? He might never have gotten out of that stuck position at all yesterday otherwise.

-- चार हजार चार सौ सतत्तर --


-- चार हजार चार सौ सतत्तर --

It was quite snowy as I walked up 15th toward him on Capitol Hill, by the way -- quite different from the much wetter conditions downtown (although it snowed a fair amount there too).

Incidentally, I've found it quite frustrating being unable to find a consolidated website that just lists accumulated inches of snowfall by day. But, after searching around the web quite a while yesterday, between the National Weather Service's Twitter feed and newspaper site pages, I was able to make these estimates for just the past four days, starting Friday:

February 8: 6.4"
February 9: 1.5" [based on 7.9" having fallen by 9:45 am, minus 6.4"]
February 10: 3.5"
February 11: 6.1"

That doesn't even count the 2.5" that fell Monday last week (Februry 4), brining the total to 20.2" for the month -- officially the snowiest month Seattle has seen since 1916! Once again, though, I have to mention these comparisons are tricky: really old Seattle records are from measurements at the Seattle Federal Building, and as has already been demonstrated, levels can vary significantly all around the area -- the above measurements from this year are all based on measurements at SeaTac Airport, which is actually about twelve miles south of downtown Seattle.

In any case, between those measurements at both SeaTac and Seattle's Federal Building, this is our snowiest February since 1916, and our seventh-snowiest month overall since records began in 1891. (The snowiest, though, was in 1950, in January.)

By the way, after adding 12 new photos yesterday to my latest snow photo album on Flickr, it now has 87 shots in it, by far the largest of my snow galleries I've been doing since 2004. The previous record was 2012, 58 shots covering three snowfalls over five days in January of that year.

I tend to combine photos into one album for either one snowfall or a stretch of snowfalls with no notable thaw between them: hence, the three snowfalls in one album for 2012, and three snowfalls -- and in this case snow accumulation on four separate days in a row -- for February 2019. Honestly, the only reason I separated December 2008's three snowfalls into separate sets was because a) the first one thawed before the second; and 2) for the second, I had a dedicated set of 46 shots just of my walk home from work, back when work was still in the U District.

Much to my genuine surprise, this latest stretch has actually been more persistent and long-lasting than the 2008 stretch had been. Given we already had 6" on the roof just as of Saturday morning, and we had plenty more to come both Sunday and Monday, we also had more on the ground at one point this year than any other time since I've lived in Seattle. And to me, it's extraordinary that it's happened in Seattle.

I'm sure glad it's finally starting to go away, though. It was fun for a couple of days. I even appreciated how pretty it was on Capitol Hill trying to walk to Shobhit's stuck car last night. But, I'm done. Bring on the rain. I'd like to wear regular shoes again.

-- चार हजार चार सौ सतत्तर --


[posted 12:27 pm]