Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snowpocalypse: 2012 edition

OK, I lived in Utah for many years. I do know what a snowstorm is supposed to look like.

And this ain't it. This is a pretty picture postcard snowfall. But that doesn't stop me from worrying about Captain Midnight and Miss V and others who are currently at work and school, because I've also lived in western Washington for a few years now and I've learned the mitigating circumstances at work here:

1) Snow density. This is not the fresh, light powder of The Greatest Snow On Earth. This is the heavy, wet snow known semi-affectionately as Cascade Cement. Give it a few hours at freezing temperatures and it welds itself into an ice sheet, which makes for fun driving and even more fun shoveling. Which leads us to:
2) Snow removal. There seems to be one snowplow in use to cover the entire 2,134 square miles of our county, which means snow removal is handled by triage. Freeways and state routes get plowed, and frequently-used routes turn the texture of Slurpees, but everything else starts out messy and just gets worse as time goes on.
3) Sheer ignorance. At least in Utah the only people who don't know how to drive in snow are out-of-state students. Conversely, NO ONE IN WESTERN WASHINGTON KNOWS HOW TO DRIVE IN SNOWY CONDITIONS. That's true whether you're a little old lady going 5 mph on the 405, or some dude passing her at 70 mph who thinks his big black SUV makes him immune to Newton's laws. (Hint: you're both going to get in a wreck, and frankly you both deserve it.) Precious few drivers carry anything that might help get them safely through icy conditions, such as tire chains, salt or sand. And even if you're prepared and knowledgeable, attempting to get through to your chosen destination may be impossible due to the sheer number of wrecks and crashes blocking every possible route. If you manage somehow to get to the freeway on-ramp without having someone else block your way or skid into you, you get to enjoy 3+ hours of parking-lot goodness as every commuter in the county crawls slowly toward home, rubbernecking at each and every fender-bender along the way.

So, yeah. Snow's very pretty and all, but I hope my family gets home safe before the predicted follow-up storm that's supposed to happen tonight.

1 comment:

MarieC said...

Word. Snow makes me grumpy even if I don't have to go to work on "official" snow days.