Friday, April 01, 2005

What the Heffalump is a "Snow Emergency"?

Ok, I know I am a little biased on this subject becuase I grew up in the mountains. But... why are people so afraid of snow?! I mean, a little bit of snow falls... the roads get a little wet... and everybody's judgement skills go to pot.

If you ever drive around in Washington DC, you will notice signs on various posts talking about a "Snow Emergency." You would laugh... until it snows in Washington DC.

THE ENTIRE METRO AREA SHUTS DOWN at even the hint of incoming snow. School is cancelled, the government sends non-emergency people home, traffic is horrible... even the grocery stores get ransacked of non-pershible food and toilet paper.

Um... people... it's going to SNOW. Why do you need a year's supply of toilet paper if it is going to snow tomorrow?? The snow will, in fact, melt... and it will most likely melt the next day.

Now, you all have to understand that I grew up in the mountains. School was never cancelled unless we got a storm of biblical proportions. And what did we do when school was cancelled? We slept in for another hour, threw on our gear and went for the slopes. Snow days were blissful... no school, great skiing!

So, pardon me if I am a little confused by the whole Snow Emergency concept. Earlier this year every school in the DC Metro area cancelled classes just because snow was forcasted. How much snow did we get? Um... none. About 4 flakes fell pensively from the sky around noon. Otherwise... it was just a cold cloudy day. I learned that day that a Snow Emergency doesn't even require snow... just the HINT of POTENTIAL snow.

Anyways... I'm perplexed. But, thankfully Spring is approaching quickly and we won't have to deal with this emergency junk anymore...


Heaven forbid...

Snow comes NEXT year!!!! (Insert dramatic music here).

Thank heavens for my SUV.

That is all.


Amy said...

Oh, I laughed when I read this! So true! I taught high school in a DC suburb for a year before I came back to Provo for grad school, and we had eleven snow days that semester. I remember stepping outside and seeing a dusting of snow on the ground and shrugging it off and then driving the half hour to the school only to find that we were closed for the day - I swear there wasn't more than a dusting! After that I learned that if there was even a possibility of snow I'd do best to listen to the radio while I got ready for school.

Admittedly, the roads are icier and more dangerous in DC than in Utah, but it surprised me how unprepared they were for snow out there, especially since they get at least a little every year...

Krista said...

Well, being from Arizona, I don't know how to deal with snow. And I've never had a snow day in my life. I remember once in 6th grade, it was snowing for the first time in 3 or four years. (And by snowing, I mean that there were a few sparse flakes that melted almost before they hit the ground.) It was during a spelling test, and the teacher closed the blinds. Needless to say, our miniature storm was over by the time the test was.

But if I were to have to deal with snow for the very first time ever, I'd would be overcautious until I got it figured out better. But you'd think that a higher percentage of the population would get in, in DC.

Kayla said...

Oh, you western people just don't get it!

Last year my local Public School System (in Virginia) closed for a day -- because the forcast said something about 'Snow.' Funny, we didn't get any. It's kinda hard to go sledding without any snow! Sheesh, no school, but no sledding. Just like Haloween without any candy. The kids in the area all went nuts.

I must sadly say that you are completely mistaken on one key point.


" The snow will, in fact, melt... and it will most likely melt the next day."

Nope. It dosn't melt -- it partially melts. And then freezes at night. And the backroads, which we all use, are covered with trees. When the sun finally hits the ice at, oh, about 11am, the ice starts melting, but that dosn't last long. A good snow dusting can have everything closed for 3-4 days because of ice on the backroads. Kinda hard to plow thin, black ice.

Have you ever tried to drive down a to-narrow-for-a-stripe-down-the-middle, back-woods, tree-covered road when it's covered with ice? I havn't, 'caus I've never been allowed to take a car out in those conditions -- not that I would. The Public Schools got sick of the situation last year, and they opened late on one of those icy days. Two hour delay, and all is well, right? No, two wonderful teens were killed trying to get to school.

We don't hesitate to have 'Snow Emergency' Days anymore.

Wait, scratch all that. You've been to DC? You've driven in DC? Come on, the people are maniacs! Can you imagine what would happen if they didn't shut everything down? Maniac drivers in icy conditions? These people don't know what a stopping distance is, or a red light, or, or . . . well, okay, we don't know what snow is, either. Make DC a real state, and maybe the people will start acting like responsible citizens.

Or not.

Horatio said...

Give me a break people. It is still not the end of the world when you get a foot of snow. I mean... shyeah!

I'm still apalled that people can't handle a little snow.

Oh well. What good is angst if people actually pay attention.

That is all.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and you're mistaken on one thing. The three main things people ransack the stores for are TP, milk, and diapers.

And for DC, a foot of snow IS nearly the end of the world. The snow storm that hit DC in 2003 had a traffic pile-up on 95 South of dozens and dozens of cars and trucks and semis because the roads and visibility were so bad. If a schoolbus had been involved in such an accident the school system would have been served up and fried--hence why they always err on the side of caution.