(Pennsylvania Uber Alles is a series of dispatches from the nightmarish Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the land of the U4E’s spiritual birth.)
The weather in Pennsylvania has not been great this winter. In fact, it’s been that other thing—apocalyptic. Foot upon foot of snow. Inch upon inch of ice.
This has been a particular issue in Pittsburgh. Built on a series of step hills, the city is hideously cramped and hideously uneven. Houses almost never have garages or dedicated parking. Everyone is parked on the street and the streets are frequently shaped like this:
This means that when things get icy in the winter, when the snow is melting and refreezing, the ice doesn’t just form in thin little patches in places, it flows down the hills and gathers in massive puddles of ice. Puddles that can’t be plowed because they’re full of cars. Puddles that, at least this winter, are freezing people’s cars into place.
I kid you not.
Look at this photo U4E photographer and fashion blogger Emily Lewis sent us:
That’s all ice. Inches and inches of ice swarming over the car like solid ants. Here’s another car that has also been frozen in place.
Look at that wheel! There’s no way that car could even possibly move.
What’s even more terrifying is that those pictures of the red car were taken on 24th of February. This is that same exact car in the same exact place from a fortnight later:
Nothing has improved! The grooves in the ice that follow the vehicle’s outline are from the car’s owner who, according to Emily, was chipping away under his car trying to break apart the ice stalactites fusing it to the ground. Despite hours of work, he failed utterly. If he got into his car, turned on his engine, kicked it into gear, and pressed the gas, it still would not move. He and his fancy red car with a racing spoiler were trapped in place by mounds of ice that had not receded in weeks – that might not recede until April or May.
Even with modern technology, even with snowplows, even with Global Warming, for 4 months a year in the Commonwealth’s greatest and most wealthy city, you’re still better off travelling by horse.