If you haven’t yet entered the First Snowfall Contest you only have today and tomorrow to think about it yet. The entry period ends Friday night at midnight. You can enter here: http://www.waow.com/category/246942/2012-snow-fall-contest Or you can just use your phone and text “Snowfall” to 28214.
The first inch of snow in Wausau has fallen in November during the last couple of years, and the middle of November is pretty typical for central Wisconsin – so your best bet is to stay in that range. About once or twice a decade we will have our first inch of snowfall in October or in December. If you wanted to take a chance and increase you odds of taking home the top prize you could predict a date outside of November. There are still a few dates in early to mid December that have not been picked yet. It is not likely that the first inch of snow will hold off until December, but it has been a dry warm year, maybe this is one of the years it will be a late first snow.
In other news, I always feel a little ahead of the crowd when I find forward-thinking articles discussing the same issues I have often broached. Over the last couple of years I have spent some time complaining about how American cities are “built for cars not people”. I enjoy the freedom and range of auto travel about as much as most people, but it has led to some malinvestments in infrastructure that is now hard to keep in place. It has led too a multitude of sprawling environmental disasters we call “cities”, with increasingly empty houses, empty parking lots, and desolate strip malls. Someone else has noticed. Adam Rogers of WIRED recently produced an article entitled “Designing cities for people, not cars”. It will be a monumental task to tear up some of the infrastructure and design more efficient yet desirable living areas, but it can be done.
One way we could use some of the existing roads, yet use less fuel, move more people more, and pollute less is through self-driving (and electric) cars. Here is a good read of some predictions of how the auto landscape will shake out over the next few years when self-driving cars hit the streets.
Electric cars are already on the streets but are seeing slow adoption because of the high price. I guess slow but steady is better than nothing at all. One of the more interesting entrants into the electric vehicle market is Lit Motors, with their two wheeled “car”. It has active balancing technology to keep it from tipping over, kind-of like the Segway (although I am sure Lit does not want to end up with a similar minor impact on transportation as the Segway had). I would drive it around town, not so sure about the freeway. They are targeting a retail price of $12,500 which would be nice, but for such a small vehicle, that still might seem pricey for most customers.
For a more roomy, and expensive ride, check out this review of the Tesla model S.
Now that electric cars are on the streets customers are reporting the real world effects of using them on a daily basis. It just so happens that some people use their electric cars (Nissan Leaf’s in particular) so much and have put so many miles on that the batteries are fading in a shorter time frame than the manufacturers expected. Some owners of Nissan Leaf’s in Arizona also saw a little poorer battery life due to the very hot climate. Nissan agreed to buy back two of the Leaf’s because of the unexpected effects. Kudos to them. Otherwise, they must be happy with user experience thus far. People obviously like them enough to be driving them all the time. Range must not be too much of a problem.
Have a nice Thursday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
This post was written by jloew on October 4, 2012