We’ve had some unnatural cold. With that some also unnatural snow. With both of them some unnatural problems. We get winter here. Just not “Ah, it’s winter; get out your snowblower, tire chains, and longies.”
The metro area doesn’t own snowplows. One or two salt trucks, used for salting overpasses and freeway exchanges for the every-other-year ice storm that makes nasty for at most a day, but usually just manages to delay schools for half a day. If it’s still snowing when the state head-school-person gets out of bed, the kids may get the whole day off.
With COVID, naturally, all bets are off. Hard to declare a school closing when school, physical, deliver the little crumb-snatchers to the big brick building in yellow buses school, has been replaced by an alternate reality.
Thinking of “normal” times in the past – realizing that a difficult mental exercise now, almost a year into this two-week lockdown – significant snow would not see trucks out salting and scraping highways, let alone city and suburb streets. Not here. When it snowed here, you waited. The idea was it’ll be gone by “this afternoon.” Maybe “by tomorrow.” Yippee! Get a big cardboard box and pretend it’s a toboggan.
Unnatural cold and unnatural snow. Started Sunday evening. Monday was a fool’s holiday, so no big deal. For the next three days, snow. Temperatures in the teens for the week. Off and on snow. Serious snow. Not blizzard snow. Not New England Snow. When you have no metro snow equipment, any more than one-day snow is serious. In spots we got maybe six inches. I hear Midwesterners laughing. Yeah, you guys got snowplows and salt trucks. And snowmobiles, and snow boots, and longies.
Folk in the neighborhood who had them, dragged-out snow shovels. The one day every other year snow shovel owners are admired instead of laughed-at.
Thing about this “perfect storm” has been intermittent thaws lasting just long enough to ice-over natural drainages. On roofs. In streets. On highways. Add on-and-off snow for four days. One period of snow pellets. About four hours of snow pellets. You could hear them hitting the house roofs, walls, and windows. Filled-up every natural drainage. Thawed. Immediately re-froze.
Now comes the thaw. Things get nasty. Water backs-up. Where does it go? Where it’s not supposed to go. I know. I was out every day working to prevent what I knew was coming. As the thaw started, I thought I had it snookered. I was wrong. There will be problems that will take months to sort-out.
Six days in now, folks look to make grocery runs, trips to check on Grandma. Streets get slushy, then icy, then slushy. In the week, maybe twenty cars successfully passed by out front. Some of them put on quite a show. It’s a little better this evening. But even the occasional 4WD spins and goes sideways. I find that dangerously humorous. Humorous in that I see plates from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and the like in the hood. Places where these transplants should have learned how to drive in snow and ice, and more, when not to drive in such conditions. Dangerous because folks will be, probably have been hurt.
I feel for Texas. Sure do. But we got problems here. Excuse me if I don’t fully pay attention to Texas. Florida begins to have a special appeal.