So, I’m off work today, as I was yesterday, and the Mondettes are home as well, all due to the arrival of DeathSnow 2K14. Although conditions in Mondoville were less dire than many anticipated — I went out to the grocery last night as the precipitation began, and to WalMart a little while ago, and in both cases, the roads were clear — I think these were good decisions.
While most of the country is chuckling at the Southern yokels who “can’t drive in snow”, I think it’s a bit more complex than that. Certainly when I lived near Cincinnati and in Muncie, Indiana, I experienced winter weather that was considerably more severe. In my last year in Muncie, I woke up one morning to discover that snow had drifted in front of my door to the point at which the screen door couldn’t be opened. Fortunately, I was able to go out the back door, loop around the house, and shovel the obstructing drift away. So I’ve dealt with winter before, and I get the puzzlement at Mondovillians reactions to winter storms and such.
On the other hand, counting last night, I think this is probably the fourth or fifth significant snow we’ve had since we moved down here nearly eleven years ago. The locals don’t get practice, and I suspect I would be a little rusty myself if things got serious. The terrain is also a challenge, compared to Muncie, which is as flat as God’s own pool table. As the saying goes, Muncie is so flat that you can watch your dog run away for three days. Here, we have gentle rolling hills, which are lovely, but can be deceptive and slippery under the right conditions.
And that brings us to the big worry down here — ice. Down here, we are far more likely to get a significant dose of freezing rain, sleet, and such than we are straight snow. My first year here, we got an ice storm that knocked out our power for four days, and that stuff hits the roads and bridges too, of course. That seems to be a significant portion of what caused the nightmares in Atlanta and Birmingham yesterday, and unless you’re the kind of person who is on a Discovery Channel show, you’re gonna have problems.
When I was a kid in Nashville, some folks from Michigan moved into the neighborhood, and when snow was predicted and the locals started to hunker down, the newcomers thought it was hilarious. A day and a half later, my parents and I helped them push their car out of the ditch in front of their house. The father of the family — I think his name was Cy — thanked us, but shook his head. “This isn’t like Michigan. This is a skating rink.”
And that’s a constant risk when storms like this come up down here. Consequently, I’m glad the officials at the public schools and the college went with the conservative option of shutting down. And there’s something to be said for the smell of chili cooking on a brisk afternoon as well — thanks, Mrs. M!