Snow White Abruzzo
It is the fourth day of heavy snow fall in Abruzzo. When I look out of my window, it seems to me that I am in Russia. To be more precise, I feel as if I am in Russian village because you can’t see such dazzling white snow in Moscow. It is very light in my room, in spite of cloudy weather.
When I woke up on Friday morning, I understood that the snow had arrived in Abruzzo. Though it was rather early, my room was white-lit. The light was coming not from the sky but from the ground. I wasn’t happy at all because I remembered last snowfall in December 2010. Then, I had certain difficulties with moving in the city, shopping and so on. So I rushed to the nearby supermarket to buy special shoes and food. Luckily, I could buy all that in one shopping centre. I bought “dopo sci” boots, or “after skiing”. When I was leaving the shop, all the party of boots was already sold. They proved to be very useful since they are warm, waterproof and antislip.
All schools, universities and public offices are closed till Wednesday. The President of the Abruzzo region Gianni Chiodi declared a state of emergency. He recommended prefects of 4 provinces of Abruzzo to turn to the Armed Forces “because of the continuing wave of violent storms and serious problems that are affecting all Abruzzo“. The Protezione Civile, civil defense, appealed to all citizens “to stay indoors and avoid dangerous situations”.
I believe that in the mountains the situation is really grave. I stay in Montesilvano Marina and the main problem here and in Pescara is that nobody cleans the streets and roads. I can roughly estimate that the snow cover near my house is already about 15-20 cm. They say that the administration of Pescara has in its disposal few snow ploughs, but doesn’t have money to pay workers. So people should “stay indoors” and take care of themselves. Another problem – local drivers aren’t accustomed to ride on ice and many of them haven’t got winter tyres. Drivers are recommended to use thermic tyres and chains. Snow tyres were forbidden in Italy 10 years ago. Yesterday, I saw in our courtyard a very cute gadget on the front wheel of an elegant VW. I asked my neighbor, “what is it?”. He said that it is a winter “sock”.
Today I went out to make shopping and take pictures. It was about +2, but the snow was hard and crackled under my boots. I saw a mimosa tree which just started to blossom but was broken by heavy snow cap. It was such a pity. I picked few branches from a broken tree and brought home.
In supermarket, customers made serious purchases and shelves were already half empty. Noteworthy, they were buying not only fresh meat and fruits but prods of long conservation, as well. Normally, Italians ignore bottled and frozen goods.
Since I live in Russia, I’m well accustomed to frost and snow. But here in Italy, it is rather difficult for me to cope with them. In Moscow, heavy snowfall can cause traffic jams but surely won’t be a disaster. Hundreds of snow ploughs and thousands of migrant street cleaners would work day and night cleaning streets, roads and yards. Of course, winter season in Russia continues nearly 5 months and in Italy sometimes winter doesn’t come. So there isn’t necessary to keep lots of snow ploughs and street cleaners, but it should be a certain financial reserve in case of emergency. Since Abruzzo is generally an agricultural region, there are many tractors which provided minor retooling can be used to clean snow. Besides, unemployment rate is very high and it is possible to organize public works to clean the snow.
Old-timers told me that in bygone days, there used to be more continental climate in Abruzzo. Winters were snowy and frosty, and summers more hot and dry. Now there are only three seasons – summer, autumn and spring. One of them recollected that in 1950s the snow cover was so high that he called a tractor in order to bring his wife to maternity hospital.
I like very much mild Mediterranean climate of Abruzzo. Winter is more warm and sunny here, than in the North of Italy. Summer is not so hot, as in the South and even in the North. I’d rather prefer a three-season year without winter!