In Houston. Tomorrow. The National Weather Service predicts rain, changing
to a mixture of rain and snow. Some snow may even build up to a
Emergency preparedness plans are being activated as I type this. We can
* School closings.
* Freeway closings.
* Runs on canned goods, candles, batteries, and strawberry pop-tarts.
* Widespread panic as residents try to flee by going south only to discover
the Gulf of Mexico. They will weep uncontrollably.
* Overflowing emergency rooms and church pews.
* Flight cancellations (there are NO snow plows at Houston airports).
* Confusion on the part of feral cats.
* A drop-off in crime as goblins conclude they're having a bad trip.
* A five or six-fold increase in auto collisions.
* Reporters will contribute to the mass unrest ("This just in: The Kroger
store on Left Elbow Ave. is OUT OF BOTTLED WATER. Residents advised to run
for their lives!").
* Children, bundled up in every bit of clothing they own, will scrape snow
from car hoods and construct six-inch high snowmen. They will call it good.
* There will be NO keg parties as there were during hurricane Yikes. Some
will swear off booze entirely (these heart-felt oaths have usually been
proven to be temporary).
Pray for us.
In Birmingham Alabama, we endured "The Blizzard of 1993", it
brought the city to its knees. Them Damn Yankees called it a
light dusting of snow. Afterwards there were a large number
of T-shirts being sold with "I Survive The Blizzard Of '93"
printed on them. It was a fun time for me watching the local
weather baboons jumping up and down on the TV.
Remember that when driving in snow, you should aim for a speed which is
right around where the car constantly shifts between 1st and 2nd, thereby
making it virtually impossible to control. And spin those wheels. That makes
heat and melts the snow underneath.
On Thu, 03 Dec 2009 07:16:50 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
I remember the first time I drove a car with a slushbox a few years ago
- it was a rental, and I'd only ever driven vehicles with manual 'boxes
before. It was also the middle of a MN Winter, so plenty of snow and ice
around. Couldn't wait to get rid of it...
It helps if you're going sideways at the time, because there's more
friction that way - and you should spend at least some of your time in
the oncoming traffic's lane, just to help *them* out a bit, too.
Ha! Used to see this all the time back in England - half an inch of snow
and the whole country would grind to a halt (and yet I remember Winters
over these as a kid before that whole global warming thing where the snow
would be 2' deep, and everyone managed then)
First real snowfall of the season still seems to catch lots of people out
even up here in the wilds of MN, though - there seems to be one class of
folk who panic at the sight of the white stuff, and another set who try to
carry on like nothing has changed at all (they're the ones you pass who
have neatly parked backwards in the ditch :-)
Generally people don't handle big changes in weather, or something like
That, and what you're used to seeing. I recall a lot of Michigan immigrees
to Houston reacting when a hurricane was approaching. They'd look down and
shout: "Feet! Make tracks!" The long-time residents would buy beer and
organize kite-flying contests.
I recall standing in the Red Cross distribution center, two blocks from a
skyscraper under construction. We'd take bets on how far the next bit of
air-conditioning duct work would fly before crashing to the ground (in a
poor neighborhood). All in all, good fun.
Ahh, yeah - the wife and I honeymooned over in the Seattle area
(Snoqualmie Falls) - we just had a rental car booked, but the guy warned
us when we arrived that heavy snow was forecast and offered to upgrade us
to a 4x4. We thought the extra space of a bigger vehicle might be useful
more than anything, so went for it (it was something stupidly small like
an extra $15 a week).
Glad we did as it turns out - snow hit, stayed for a week, and I've never
seen so many vehicles crashing in my life. Not just cars, but big semis
too; those were just the ones that ended up where they shouldn't - there
were far more that'd try to get up the hillsides and just gracefully slip
backwards to the bottom again. Maybe 1 in 50 were making it through.
It got to be real seat of the pants stuff at times, particularly picking
around vehicles that had got stuck and just abandoned in the middle of the
road - but it was also hellishly good fun ;-)
Our warm temps often mean really slippery conditions after snow. The first car
compresses it to ice, and ther you go. Every once in a while we get a much
colder snow. Most of the drivers don't know that that stuff is way different,
and you can drive on it, so they stay home.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, people can't even remember how to drive on
wet roads when the first rains hit at the end of summer. Never mind that it
rains non-stop for nine months out of the year. When snow and ice hit, it is
a disastor. I've never seen a city grind to a complete halt because of two
inches of snow like Portland does.
When I lived in Montana and we would get six inches of snow, we just
shoveled it off of the windshield, got in the car or truck, and drove to
work. Just another day.
LOL we have snow plows here...but not very many, certainly not enough to
clean up real fast after a major snowfall. If it every dumped two or three
feet, it would be a disastor because they just aren't equiped to handle
something like that. And who up here has a power sidewalk sized snow blower?
I have to borrow a snow shovel from my neighbor when it snows.
It's law around here (at least in town) that if you have any sidewalk out
front, you're responsible for keeping it shoveled. It's just ditch and
then road outside our place though (we're 8 miles out) so we don't have to
bother with that.
Lots of plows around - that's why the mailbox is on a spring-loaded
pivoting arm, as otherwise they don't last long :-) The big plows make for
good photos though when they come roaring past, trying to clear a couple
of feet of snowfall; they can really sling it a long way.
And yeah, the ground here's gonna be white now until next April or so. We
get good Summers up here, and good Winters too...
I think the biggest difference is that in Portland, the snow and ice
episodes usually last a few days, and then it warms up and it all melts. In
Montana it snows and stays frozen until next spring. After a few days,
people have either figured out how to drive on snow and ice, or they wreck
their cars and don't drive anymore. Portland drivers don't get enough time
to learn (those that are capable of doing so).
Also in Portland (and other cities in the PNW) it often snows or dumps ice
and then warms up and partially melts and then cools off and freezes and you
have hard ice on the roads. Nobody can drive on that without chains, and
even then it's dangerous.
But the snow and icy conditions that we drove to work on every day in
Montana is enough to shut Portland down completely. I used to work on 82nd
just north of where I-205 crossed, where there is this hill. Idiots come
zooming up to the hill at full speed and when they drive down the hill they
realize they can't control their car and splatto. We'd watch tow trucks
hauling the cars off all day long.
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