We're experiencing our first major snowfall of the year here, and like always, it bring a whole host of things out of the woodwork. I live in an area affected by storm systems moving off the Great Lakes, and lake effect snowfall is always big talk around here. In many ways, I don't like the attention it gets, because I think it gives people a negative impression of this region, one that I believe is undeserved. We get snow here, yes. But NOT, by quite a bit, the most snowfall in the country, or even in the state. This is not known by all. :)
I think the reason for the attention is that occasionally, this pesky lake effect issue causes a storm so magnificent in its proportions that the Weather Channel camps out on location for a week and CNN puts it on the national news. Thus, people get the impression that this is par for the course around here, but it isn't. Another factor is that we do live near an area known as "ski country." They, in fact, record much more snow, but it gets lumped in with the nearest metro area, when in fact, we don't see half of their snow.
Anyway, I do love winter. I know it can be cumbersome, but it's beautiful, and I love having four seasons. Many people complain about having to scrape off their cars in the morning, but really? There is an easy solution to this problem: A garage. Most houses have garages around here, but often, people do not use them for their cars. I'm not judging :) I'm just saying. If you kept your car in the garage overnight, you'd only have to brush it off when coming from someplace during the day where your car sat for some length while snow accumulated. This happens to me at work, since we have open parking lots here, not a parking garage. But we have a garage at home, and we squeeze both cars into that puppy. Thus, very little scraping. Life is good.
The first big snowfall is always accompanied by calamity, and this is an interesting phenomenon. If you've grown up around here, you are very used to snow. And if you're driving, you've been used to snow for at least 16 years. However, the first big snowfall always causes everyone to temporarily lose their mind and believe that they've never seen this mysterious white stuff before. "What? What is this?! And why is it so slippery?!"
Yesterday morning was a perfect example. I saw the snow. I mentally prepared myself. I do get nervous about driving in it, even after all these years, but like everyone, I've become adept at the coping mechanisms to deal with it. Drive slower. Pump your brakes when trying to come to a stop. Step on gas slowly when trying to accelerate from a complete stop. That's really all there is to it. It's still slippery, and despite your caution you can still be involved in an accident, but if you take these precautions you make yourself and all the cars around you safer.
Right? Well. Anyway, I saw the snow, and gave myself a few extra minutes in the morning. Hank and I left the house at 8 am, like usual, to get him to his before school program at our daycare. It's about a mile from our house. We took it slow, no problem. Hank was dropped off and I was back in the car by 8: 10 or so. Then I set off for work. This is *maybe* 10 miles from my house. It usually takes me 10-15 minutes to get there, depending on traffic lights.
60 minutes later, I'm still in my car, fuming. For unexplainable reasons, this happens every year. Every year! Traffic grinds to a halt. Everyone is paralyzed with fear in their car. We're all bumper to bumper, and I just can't understand why. The roads weren't bad. There was some slush on them. It was actively snowing, and sticking, but it wasn't deadly by any stretch of the imagination. I think people just forget how to drive in the snow from year to year. It takes a day for everyone to get re-acclimated. I finally got to work around 9:30, all stompy. I mean, the snow did accumulate, I will grant. It's all just a bit odd to me.
By February, we could all drive from home to work on a straight sheet of ice while blizzardy snow pummels our windshields and no one blinks an eye. But that first snowglobe effect? Chaos.