Friday, February 20, 2015
I have occasionally referenced my 20 or more years living in Boston here -- I moved to deepest Connecticut about 4 1/2 years ago. And for my own sake, I am very glad I did. We had some snowy winters while I was there, of course, and they were hard enough to endure.
Boston is an old city which means it has a lot of narrow streets, and unlike, say, New York, most every household has at least one motor vehicle, and most of them park on the street. The transit system was antiquated and creaky even when I lived there, and by now it's apparently relying on bed pans and tube feeding. They've now had what is nearly a record amount of snowfall for an entire winter within four weeks, and no melting in between. People can't get to work, can't shop, can't go to shows, and the economy is starting to collapse. People who were already struggling, who've missed work, are starting to panic about rent and mortgage. I have to wonder about old folks and whether people will start to turn up frozen or starved.
There's rain predicted for Sunday, which will then flash freeze, followed by two more significant snow storms next week. The mayor and governor are warning people to get the snow off their roofs or risk collapse, but how many people have any means of doing that? What if houses do start to collapse all over the city?
My fear is that many people are claiming that this sort of weather pattern will become commonplace due to the decline of arctic sea ice. If this happens again next year, and maybe the year after that, what will become of the city of Boston? What if it goes on into March this year?
Out where I live now, we haven't had quite as much snow, and of course we don't have sidewalks or cars parked on the street or subways to worry about, as long as we can keep our own driveways plowed. (Which is not very easy but I certainly am in no position to complain.) Tomorrow I am going to have to get up on my roof and shovel it off before the rain comes. Chances are I could get away with not doing that but it would be foolish. Of course I'll eventually get too old for that sort of thing but I'll have the money to hire a guy. What about people who don't?
I know, I know, people live in Minnesota and Yellowknife, but they're used to it and they have the infrastructure and the design practices to deal with it. In southern New England, we don't. If this is the new normal, we have big, big problems.