Tuesday, January 6, 2015

It Doesn’t Take Much

Snow is falling in my part of Maryland this morning.  Not much, just a couple of inches.  During the first twenty five years of my life, in New Orleans, I only saw snow three times.  That’s all, three times, for a total snow fall of less than two inches.  You read that right, a total combined accumulation from three separate snowfalls of two inches.  Each of those ‘minor’ snow incidents paralyzed New Orleans because that region isn’t prepared for snow.  It just doesn’t happen much there.

But here, in the Washington DC suburbs, we see snow a few times a month each winter, with accumulations in each ranging from a couple of inches to a couple of feet.  People who live here usually know when the snow is coming, the regional road crews have a century of experience treating roads and removing snow and everybody here has driven in the stuff.  Yet the two inches of snow that has fallen this morning is wreaking havoc on the roads.  Dozens of accidents are reported, most schools delayed or closed and I’m working from home till noon.  My driving skills are fine but I don’t trust all the other drivers.
People who live in Buffalo or Bangor must laugh at us every winter.  I admit that driving in snow, especially the powdery stuff that’s falling today in 20-degree conditions and sticking as an icy mess, is tricky.  But attitude can get you through it safely; pay attention and take your time.  My first home outside of Louisiana was in Wisconsin.  I moved there in December that year and experienced every-other-day snow and numerous sub-zero temperature days.  During the four winters I lived there, I only got stuck in snow once and I rarely slid on the ice … in my car … I did slip and fall a couple of times while walking on ice.  If a Louisiana native who had never driven in snow can survive four winters in Wisconsin, driving a rear-wheel drive vehicle with manual transmission, why do people here in Maryland have so much trouble getting around in bad weather?

Anyway, it’s time to shift from writing this blog to writing some stuff for work.  I’ll work from home for a couple of hours because I just heard from a neighbor who’s been driving for nearly an hour and has only gone four miles. 

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