Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bad weather everywhere

It's been rain and wind everywhere lately...

In the Netherlands, the rain was sheeting horizontally as I drive to Schiphol and back on Sunday, and then blowing past my office window in dark bands yesterday.

Things were worse in almost every regard back in Seattle though, as a major storm with 100 mph winds pushed in from the southwest. With the nine-hour time difference, first notices of school closures drifted in to my email by evening; then, this morning, there were emergency notices of all sorts. I logged into the Seattle PI to see what was happening in Woodinville, where my family lives, and I found this picture:

'Not a good thing to wake up to. Fortunately everyone is fine.

Despite all of the rain here in the Netherlands, I trust that the Dutch have the water under better control here. Driving by full holding ponds and cresting rivers, I never worry that the road might flood as in the US: the water level is probably regulated to the millimeter.

What the Dutch don't control as well is traffic on the roads. Invariably, in heavy rain, the major highways slow down and back up. My Tom-Tom suggests alternatives, which seem to fill with traffic just ahead of my arrival. One turnoff leads to another until I find myself in a long queue on a country road in the middle of nowhere, waiting for the one traffic light to let one car through at a time.

It seems a pity that the same intuition and mathematical precision that the Dutch bring to water flow can't be applied to traffic flows?

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