Monday, February 13, 2006

Snow!

Having grown up in DC, I know about this area's strange relationship with snow. We get snow here. But - similar to so much of our weather - not predictably. There's a certain agricultural publication that predicts an insane amount of snowstorms will hit us each year, but I have never found that to be accurate. (They could be counting stuff that hits the western mountains and never makes it to where I live, but still - not accurate as far as my life goes.) Never having lived farther north in the US (as in - an area that gets snow every winter and where one imagines it becomes more like rain, an expected weather condition) I am not entirely sure of the uniqueness of the DC area's snow responses - but comments from transplants seem to suggest it is a bit unusual.

Snow reports of course lead to the predictable runs on the grocery store for essentials. This happens even when they only predict an inch, which I find hilarious, because an inch is not going to stop you from getting to the grocery store. I once pointed out to a roommate (also a native to the area) that in the three blizzards and multiple other,lesser storms I had never been unable to get to the grocery store. She apparently had - once. (In fairness, in a blizzard a few years ago, it did take me three days to dig my car out, but I will also admit this was only so I could get to work so my motivation was probably a little limited).

Now there are two things that add to the madness that snow produces around here. This area has a high number of transplants so that increases the number of people who have not yet had an opportunity to drive in snow. And many of whom seem to think the fact that they drive an SUV means they do not need to develop additional skills. We also do not get snow consistently and often not in large amounts, so when we do it is a surprise.

Which leads to the second problem. Because we do not get snow significantly and consistently, things like snow removal equipment get cut out of municipal budgets or decreased a lot. Because, when you make that decision in June after a mild winter - it doesn't seem like a big deal. (I guess). Now - this has gotten significantly better in recent years. But that was a problem for a while.

Schools also have been known to run into issues with this. Many schools used to build five days into the calendar in case of snow. But after a few light winters, one county cut all the school days out of their calendar. Guess what happened? That's right, lots of snow that winter.

So we got about 6-12 inches - depending on where you live. It was beautiful as it came down Saturday, and as it began to slush up yesterday. Today we had lots of ice (yay?). And tomorrow we should have lots of grey snow.

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