Monday, January 24, 2005

Old Man Winter

It's snowing, it's snowing!!!  It looks like the warm winter is over.  The forecast for the next week is snow, snow, and more snow!  Then later in the week, the temperature is supposed to drop to -14�C (that's about 6�F!)  Brrrrr!!!  We have had a very strange winter this year. November, December, and most of this month has been unseasonably warm.  In mid-December, we sat outside a couple of days because the temps was in the 50�F range and sunny. 
I am reminded today with the extremely slippery roads of my first winter snow storm in Kosovo back in 2001.  It was around Thanksgiving, the week of I think, and what started out to be a beautiful sunny morning turned into a snow storm that dumped half a foot of snow in three hours during the afternoon.  By 4:30pm, it was dark and still snowing.  The road out of Pristina was closed to any traffic without 4-wheel drive but people were still trying.  The five minute trip out of Pristina took one hour because Golf's were trying to make up the road out of Pristina but were getting turned around by KFOR.  Finally, I reached the highway and road up the hill out of Pristina.  It was slippery but manageable in the 4Runner.  Then I turned off the highway onto the road to Gracanica.  There is a gradual hill starting as soon as you finish the turn-off for about a mile I guess.  About halfway up the hill, a large truck had slid half into the ditch and half on the road.  A passenger bus tried to pass the truck on the left-hand side of the road but it was too slippery to start from a full-stop and they ended up being stuck.  Now the road was blocked both directions.  KFOR arrived and the passengers of the bus ended up pushing the bus out of the way so the other traffic could pass.  I'm sure that's not the trip that the passengers were expecting!  The normal ten minute trip ended up taking two and half hours that day.  I hope that tonight is not the same!