Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Winter has arrived in Oslo

First snow Torshov 25 Oct 2005While the Journo's in the UK speculate about how hard winter it is going to be in Britain, winter has arrived in Oslo. There was a flurry of snow on Sunday but today, Tuesday 25th October we woke up to winter. It has snowed all day producing close to 3 inches (10 cm). From the look of the satellite feed on the Intellicast weather site, the source of the snow is the same front that is dumping large amounts of rain on the UK. The forecast suggests there could be snow for the next couple of days.

So how are the locals coping with the sudden arrival of winter? Most motorists were caught well and truly unawares. It is normal practice to change your tyres as winter approaches. You fit either soft rubber snow tyres or less popular, mainly because you have to pay an extra tax, If you have a car in Norway you own two sets of tyres, summer and winter. The problem is changing them when the weather catches you out. As a result the tyre depots were working overtime, long queues quickly formed outside most of them. The early callers were the taxi drivers. Most taxis use studded tyres during the winter. This is mainly to allow them to maintain the mandatory 2G cornering speeds on Oslo’s many cobbled streets! The use of studded tyres in Oslo is discouraged, they destroy the road surfaces, one reason why Oslo still has a large number of cobbled streets and because they encourage faster driving speeds. In addition they claim that the abrasion of the road surface creates a health hazard due to people breathing in the particles. However it seems you can not win either way. There is now a move to have the composition of the soft tread winter tyres changed because they contain carcinogenic chemicals.

You would think Norwegian kids would be blasé about snow but there they where making snowmen and belting each other with snow balls. At least they are dressed for the weather. The younger ones wear these “all in one” waterproof boiler suit outfits that allow them to throw themselves around whatever the weather. It is noticeable that footwear fashion this year has changed from UGG boots to fancy welly boots.

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