Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Well I had intended to cover winter weather here in Pennsylvania in this letter, but it seems as if you have got a real dose of it yourselves!

When I was growing up we usually had a least two periods of heavy snow each winter, but in recent years these have become far more infrequent so when they do occur obviously the effect is felt more.

Here, in a climate which is quite accustomed to such events it takes a very severe snowfall to stop the country functioning and even if the schools do get closed due to the weather, the lost days are always made up at the expense of the holidays. The snow clearing operations are controlled by the City and are mostly carried out by private individuals who have fitted snow ploughs to their pickup trucks. This proves to be very effective indeed to the extent that even the private alley serving the garages at the bottom of our gardens gets ploughed every time. As for the through routes, these are mainly the responsibility of Penndot (Pennsylvania Department of Transport) who have a large fleet of ploughs and gritting vehicles and, so far this winter, have succeeded in keeping the main routes clear.

Evidently this is a somewhat chilly winter this year, the average temperature is 36F, but it hasn’t been anyway near that for some time; but the forecasters are saying that by the weekend it will be 44F - a veritable heat wave!!

We has a snowfall weekend before last and on the Sunday morning the road outside had been cleared by 8am and our garage access by about noon. The temperature outside is now 34F as I write, the roads have all dried out but the piles of ice everywhere have to be seen to be believed; I think it will take many weeks of warmer weather to get rid of them all, some have been there since before thanksgiving!

There is an old custom here - Groundhog day - on Feburary 2nd when, if the groundhog can see his shadow at sunrise winter will continue for a further six weeks. Unfortunately he could, but who believes such folklore anyway? Still you never know do you?

Anyway, I hope you have all managed to dig yourselves out in time for the next meeting, and leave you with greetings from a snowy Schuylkill County to a more snowy East Sussex.

Until next time,

Henry Dallimore

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