Jan 21, 2007

A trail of salt

Sravana expressed an interest in hearing more about Norway, so I thought I'd accommodate her.

What you see in this picture (besides my apartment building on the left) is typical of winter in Bergen, Norway: After a good rain, comes a freeze, and those responsible for roads and walkways bring out the salt. Roads are salted here, the alternative being studded tires which tear up the asphalt and pollute.

Road salt itself is not without problems: It gets into the soil, pollutes water, and dries out dog paws. If it's wet, it'll soak into boots, leaving them white. It gets tracked into buildings, leaving milky footprints everywhere. The lobby where I work is white all winter long from the salt being tracked in. A mess. But necessary.

If it snows, we won't need it nor can we use it. Snow is best if it gets packed, whether on roads or sidewalks. Add salt to it, and you get miles of the ugliest, slipperiest slush. Yuck! Salt is only for black ice conditions, as it works best on bare ground at at-freezing tempuratures and with a bit of moisture. The trail in the picture is as white as it is, because the moisture disappeared before it could melt and leave an invisible coating. Right now, it's still crystals.

Having said all that, I can't tell you how happy I am to see that stream of salt in the middle of the road (no where near fences or other things to hold on to...hmmm...) since it signals the end of All. That. Rain. And the beginning of winter as it should be: Cold, bitter, bleak - and on time.


Sravana said...

I *much* prefer snow to ice, packed down is not a problem. That ice storm here in TX last week was simply awful... but my neighbors bought a box of rock salt, and I was amazed at how it melted my bare outside steps. Marvelous!

but not good for the puppy pads, that's true.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Unfortunately, ice is what you get when it rains and then freezes. And you don't necessarily want a thin layer of snow on that; that's treacherous. But packed snow, and its accompanying silence, is wonderful.

So, you gonna keep a supply of rock salt now?

Mark said...

Salt is also extremely corrosive to car bodies.