Snow Ice Snow
Goodness me what a week it has been, actually what a month! For all of February at least so far we have been in the grip of ‘The Big Freeze’ here in Italy. You may have noticed that every one of my posts this month have been weather orientated. Neve – Snow, The Big Freeze, Ghiaccio - Ice in Marta, and After the Ice More Snow.
I am not going to apologise though as this blog is all about sharing news of our everyday life in Lazio and this weather has certainly been having a huge impact on our lives since February 1st when it first snowed where we live.
Although much of north west Italy had already experienced heavy snowfalls and the forecast was for snow in Lazio it was still a surprise to wake to a white landscape. This first snowfall was not very significant and did not last long here by the lake. A little more snow fell over the next few days but not causing much in the way of problems for us, they were still to come as the temperatures started to drop even more and then the Tramontana, arrived a cold north wind, which started to blow strongly. This combined with temperatures below freezing made for very unpleasant conditions. It was during this first weekend of the month that we realised the weather forecasters were right and that the Big Freeze was set to be around for awhile.
We decided it would be sensible to get our gas tank topped up so put in an order on February 6th, delivery was promised within twenty four hours, however the company had not managed to get to us before the next snowfall arrived on February 10th which put paid to any hope of them getting through. As I type we are really hoping that the tanker will arrive imminently now the roads have been cleared. As despite rationing gas carefully, our situation is now getting desperate! We can survive without gas but even with two wood burning stoves and an open fireplace this old house is not easy to keep at a comfortable temperature. At least we have plenty of wood to see us through.
On the same day we also discovered that the strong winds the night before had damaged our satellite dish which my husband has been unable to repair himself. Of course the engineer has not been able to get to us either yet, so we have also been without Sky television. We did manage to rig something via the old terrestrial aerials and can now view Italian channels.
With the extreme cold now having continued for so long we are now even more concerned about potential damage to garden plants, our many fruit trees and of course our olive grove, we shall just have to wait and hope.
The snow was not in a hurry to thaw last week, which reminded us of the old wives tale that if snow hangs around it means there is more to come! This of course proved to be true when the heavy snowfalls that the weather forecasters predicted fell on the 10th and 11th of February. We woke at 7am on the Friday to two inches of snow and blizzard conditions, it continued to snow for much of the next forty eight hours and we ended up with around 14”.
The terrace table was where we took one of the measurements!
Although this was a very moderate fall compared to other parts of Italy it still managed to cause quite a bit of chaos as people discovered they were snowed in due to the wind having produced some amazing snowdrifts. We were fortunate that our neighbour cleared the lane with their tractor and we were able to clear by our own gates, although we have friends that had to wait for the local commune to come and dig them out.
Unlike a lot of other areas we have also had electricity the entire time, apart from a couple of flickers, the phone landline was down for twenty four hours, but to my relief the internet connection which does not rely on a phone line has continued to operate.
During one of the lulls in snowfall over the weekend and having snow chains for the car it was decided to make a brief expedition for fresh supplies and that is when the photos that are not of our own garden were taken.
Mosaic of the Snowfall February 10th 2012.
Mosaics of the Snowfall February 11th 2012.
Time for an expedition to Marta with the chains on.
Less snow down in Marta beside the lake but enough to build an impressive snowman!
Problems were caused where the strong winds had created huge snowdrifts!
We had sunshine yesterday and today and a slight thaw. However the temperatures at night are still very very cold so it will take awhile for the snow to disappear, as the thaw, freeze thaw continues. We have dug ourselves out where needed, the path to the woodpile, access to our gates and terraces,including the upstairs terrace.
Clearing the terrace!
We are used to this sort of weather and are coping ok but it is the locals we feel sorry for as they have not seen conditions like this since 1985 and are just not used to such extreme cold.
As I have said before many times Life in Italy is never dull, at least it does not seem to be for us.
All photos can be viewed in a larger format on Flickr.com in my collection entitled The Big Freeze February 2012
All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection
This is a series which I participate in from time to time and I have done so with this post. Welcome to News From Italy to anyone who has called by from Mosaic Monday at Little Red House and of course all my supportive readers who call by and leave comments both here and on my other blogs.