Sunday, January 10, 2010

Planes, trains and automobiles: shoveling out

The heavy snowfall and cold temperatures worldwide are causing global transportation problems. Road salt that had built up on a utility pole resulted in a fire that blacked out electricity to Cleveland Hopkins international Airport, canceling flights and playing havoc with schedules.

Then there's the train from hell, as some are referring to an Amtrak train that pulled in to Chicago with a 19 hour delay with "tired, hungry and stinky" passengers because of the severe weather.

In Germany, over 160 people found themselves stuck in their cars overnight as a result of heavy snow.

In the UK, grit levels are "critically low as more snow heads in". This is causing particular havoc for people with mobility problems due to physical disability, who are stuck in their homes. They've even started a hash tag on twitter called #disabilitysnow .

The interesting part about the Internet and the disability community is how it provides a way for people who live alone to reach out to each other when things like this happen. What may be an inconvenience for some non-disabled people, quickly turns into a situation where a disabled person becomes immobile. (This, of course, is also true for some elderly people.) Whether it's ice and snow blocking curbcuts, driveways, bus stops and sidewalks or extremely cold temperatures that make it dangerous or impossible to travel outside for some, this is a great time to to check in with those who may need groceries or other items.

Here's one video taken by a woman who uses a wheelchair. After two hours of trying to shovel herself out of her home, she set up the camera to continue filming. Instead, the camera caught her neighbors who came over with a snow blower and shovels to help her out and she uploaded this high-speed version.


Anonymous said...

The heavy snowfall and cold temperatures worldwide are causing global transportation problems

Err... Sorry, but I have to nitpick here - it's summer in the southern hemisphere. Here in South Australia, we just had four days of 40C+ (104F+) and are in the middle of bushfire season.

Ruth said...

Yep, you're right.

104 degrees!?! wow. Stay cool.