February 11, 2010
"It's ginormous, I really don't know how else to explain it." says Brent Oja. Wendell Gibson says, "It's a major mess in the parking lot that's for sure. It sure is taking up a lot of parking."
What started with one, has quickly expanded to a series of mountains of snow and ice in the Barracks Road Shopping Center parking lot. Some are bigger than others, but they are all raising two questions.
When will it melt? What to call it?
Gerry Petencin says, "We're close to the Chipolte parking lot so Mount Chipolte is fine, but the Charlottesville Iceberg maybe." Oja says, "I would probably just call it the Snow Monster." Gibson says, "If I had to nickname that one, that would probably be King Barracks Road."
The nickname is matter of opinion, but when it melts away, that's a matter of science.
University of Virginia Professor of Physics, Lou Bloomfield says, "As it turns out, it takes about as much heat to melt ice, with out changing the temperature, just to go from solid to liquid, as it does to take the resulting liquid and heat it almost to boiling."
Bloomfield says it's tough to calculate when these ice piles will melt because the weather is too variable.
"How much wind are you going to have? How warm is the day going to be? How sunny is it going to be? Is there going to be rain? Is it going to be a warm rain or freezing rain? "
But despite this variability, onlookers are still willing to wager a guess. Petencin says, "So you could be looking at June or July for that to go away, I would guess." Oja says, "I would say sometime maybe around late April if we get some hot days in there." Gibson says, "Depending on how warm it gets, but June or July probably."
Bloomfield was not willing to make a prediction but adds, "It sounds like a good opportunity for an office pool, but I'm not a gambling man. So I'll sit there quietly and wait and see when the ice mountain goes."
We would love to hear your thoughts on a nickname for the Barracks Road snow piles and a guess as to when they will all melt away. Just add your comment below.