I previously blogged about the heavy snowfall that started in Prague on Friday 8th January 2010 and continued right through the weekend. The photo on the left shows my car on the Saturday morning after snow had fallen continuously for 24 hours. As I remarked in my more recent post about the visit of the Archdeacon to Prague on the weekend of 30th-31st January, most of the snow that fell then was still lying on the ground during his visit. However, after more than six weeks of temperatures almost permanently being below freezing, finally during the past week, a thaw has set in and the snow has gradually melted.
I was warned before moving to the Czech Republic, that I would have to get used to colder continental winters. But nothing could really prepare me for the weather Prague has experienced these last nearly seven weeks. Apparently, this has been the worst winter weather that the Czech Republic has had in 17 years. Towards the end of this long cold spell, even native Czechs were beginning to express their frustration with the extreme nature of the weather.
Despite the lying snow and freezing temperatures, Prague has continued to function. The city authorities have made major efforts to clear roads and pavements and public transport has kept operating with the minimal of delays. Particularly in popular pedestrianized areas in the city centre, snow has been cleared away by loading it into trucks and dumping it out of the way elsewhere. There are still massive heaps of snow along the banks of the River Vltava which are the result of this exercise.
Even in suburban streets, snow has been pushed into piles in order to leave a clear path along the pavement or road. It is mainly these heaps of snow that still have not melted, together with snow lying on north facing slopes which get very little sun.
When snow falls, everything looks beautiful and white. However, as it melts, dirt, litter and scattered street debris is revealed which look highly unattractive. In particular, many dog owners have got out of the habit of cleaning up after their dogs have obliged in the street believing that the snow will cover it up. Now the snow has melted, one has to walk quite carefully in places to avoid stepping in dog s–t. It will be interesting to observe how quickly all of this mess is cleared up.
As well as the marked improvement in the weather, last week was also notable for a number of other things. Both of us had our birthdays which has resulted in our joint ages now totalling one hundred! On the intervening day between our respective birthdays, I paid the last of several visits to the dentist for the fitting of a crown to replace one of my front teeth which I broke at the beginning of February.
Looking ahead, I have an early morning meeting on Wednesday 3rd March, following which I may be able to write a very interesting blog post. Watch this space!