Frozen tulip, Toronto, Canada. I hope it will survive. 2018 Apr 15. Photo 8 by Don Tai
After a lifetime of shoveling snow from driveways and living in Toronto, Canada, it is rare that I am unsure what steps to take. This current weather pattern is increasingly odd. We have had rain, freezing rain, high wind, and now followed by a lot more rain. So, what to do?
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What to do to Clear Snow and Ice from the Driveway, Toronto, Canada?
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Like most large cities, Toronto, Canada has storm drains. These drains help remove excess water from the area after a heavy rainfall. Usually forgotten until needed this unsung system requires very little maintenance. Here is what is done in Toronto.
Storm drains are located on both sides of the street, about 6 houses apart, or 120′ between drains. In the past the storm drain cover was parallel to the road and sidewalk, but this was problematic for cyclists, who would get their tires caught in the drain cover. Now the cover openings are diagonal from the curb to the middle of the street. Storm drain covers are cast of heavy iron and do rust.
A +4C snowfall followed by a -4C overnight freeze turns heavy, wet snow into ice that has the consistency of concrete.
We are from Toronto, Canada, and most of Canada regularly gets snow during the winter. As the snow falls from the sky it accumulates. This accumulation must be removed from the streets, sidewalks and private driveways in order for cars to safely drive on the street and for people to be able to safely walk on the sidewalk. There are times when you can leave the snow on your driveway and clear it away some time later, but in some specific conditions, waiting even 6 hours can make the job multiple times more difficult. These conditions include above freezing temperatures while the snow falls, followed by a quick below 0C freeze overnight, turning wet, heavy snow into a large block of ice.
Driveway, sidewalk and snowbank, on S's side
In true Canadian spirit, we must talk about snow and winter. This winter is unique in that while it has snowed a little more than an average year, there has been very little melt. This means that, not surprisingly, the snow accumulates. In downtown Toronto, snow may be carted off in trucks to a local park and dumped, but in most residential areas, it is simply too expensive.
My neighbour S has a snow service that clears his driveway with a truck. The truck has a plow and scrapes the snow backwards towards the street. Once on the street the snow is pushed up onto the side of the curb.
They are so very interesting. Icicles look like they have concentric rings, but are formed by single drops of melted water that refreeze as it gets to the tip. The wind and temperature influence their shape. Don’t they look like limestone stalactites, the ones you find in caves? They have a screw shaped design. Quite pretty and very organic. One icicle at the side of the house is quite long and needs to grow only about 3 feet before it becomes an ice column.
Maybe we should call them winter carrots because of the resemblance. The kids want to eat them.