Monday, December 19, 2005

Winter Road Prep (Wind Breaks) • 冬の道の準備(風よけ)

Another thing that people are doing to prepare for the arrival of winter is standing up the wind breaks on the sides of many roads. These wind breaks are set up very near the edge of quite a few roads in the Inakadate. These windbreaks stand about 3 or 4 meters tall on the windward side of the road. In Inakadate that is to the west side.

As they were being set up, (from the laying position to the standing) I really didn't like them. They ruin the view of everything and it feels like you are driving down a long tunnel.

Now that I have seen them in action, however, I have changed my opinion a little. These are really well designed. Actually, I don't think perhaps that 'wind break' is the right word. They might slow the wind a little, but what they are really doing is redirecting the wind down onto the road surface.

And here in Inakadate, still quite close to the Japan Sea coast, the wind often blows quite hard. I have been told that some days, the snow will often fall horizontally. When it is blowing then, the 'breaks' push the wind down onto the road and help to keep the snow from accumulating on the road.

There are a couple of places where I have seen them in action. Very consistently where there is a 'break', there is no snow on the road, where there is no break, the road is covered. Given the distances in Minnesota, I don't think we could realistically use them there, but they do seem to work well for Inakadate.

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