Tips for the snow (which is rare!)

Despite the unexpected heat wave in January, snow and sleet are not an uncommon sight in February. Just in case the weather decided to let up and you find yourself in the middle of a snow blizzard, here are some points to help you stay safe.

2013-03-14-186Stay warm

Layer up, wear your thickest socks and find the furriest ear muffs – because that wind chill can be brutal. And, always keep hot chocolate handy.

Guidelines from the government

If you’re living in an independent house, you and your roommates might consider investing in a shovel. “Indeed, residents are responsible for shoveling their own sidewalks. They are not obliged to, but advised to do so, using a snow shovel or salt and sand,” explains Michiel Visser, adviser Stadsmarketing, Gemeente Delft. He adds that the Gemeente is responsible for keeping the main streets and roads free of ice and snow, as well as the areas around public buildings like hospitals and stations. “The Gemeente makes sure that anyone will be able to reach a road that is prepared with salt or shovelled,” says Visser.

Caution for Cyclists

If you bike, there are some changes you could consider for your bike. Winter tyres, for instance. These are made of a softer material and have more grooves for a better grip on the snow. The tyre also shakes off snow easily and is less slippery on wet road and leaves. It costs about €50-65, but can come in handy on wet, slushy days which are a common sight in Delft. Spiked tyres, on the other hand, cost €70-80 and have a much more limited use, since it doesn’t snow for too long here. “It’s not necessary by law. In fact, few people actually change their tyres- older people and those who bike about 15 kilometres day,” says Tim van Mulken, the manager of the workshops at Bike Totaal Wijtman, Delft. “Don’t cycle on roads that haven’t been cleared and avoid tracks made by cars as they can be slippery,” he cautions. According to The Guardian, you should also let out a little air from the tyres, ride them soft and brake early in slippery conditions.

Pet precautions

In 2013, Dutch animal welfare organisation Vier Voeters Netherlands reported that pet owners should be extra careful during the winter as the salt and sand used to melt ice can cause small injuries in the paws of their pets. Even the small pieces of hardened snow can be injurious. According to their advisory, dogs sometimes consume that salt and sand while licking their paws, which in turn can cause stomach ailments. Recommendations included a lukewarm footbath after the walk to remove small stones, road salt and ice. And special dog shoes for sensitive or injured dogs.

Tune In to updates

If you’re travelling outside of Delft during the winter, it is prudent to check for updates online. The NS is timely with all their updates, especially when it snows as train services are invariably disrupted. Follow them on Twitter or download their app. On days with particularly hazardous weather conditions, the university also sends out internal advisories and announcements, so keep an eye for those as well. Most importantly, find yourself a Weather App that suits you and save it on your phone or desktop. When it comes to snow, you’d rather enjoy the snowfall and skip the slippery aftermath.

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