This post comes to you from the romantic and high class environs of a totally random sports bar in SeaTac airport, where after having been foiled by weather yesterday, I’m finally heading home. 

For the record that’s one finished sock and just a few rows of the next one.  Three days left in February, but it’s a long way home. I’ve got a flight from here to Vancouver in a few hours, then an overnight home to Toronto.  This flight is necessary because of the terrible storm that threatened Port Ludlow and kept Tina and I from being able to safely drive to Seattle to catch my flight yesterday. The weather was so bad, so incredibly, stunningly, shockingly bad, that it was all people could talk about.  Let me tell you what happened.  First IT SNOWED A LITTLE. Then  IT FROZE FOR A WHILE. 

If you are from Canada and you wake up in the morning and see that there is some ice, and about an inch of snow- You get ready to go to the airport.  So when  your very sensible friend tells you, in all seriousness and with no drama that this means it is unsafe to go to the airport, then there is something you have to do very quickly, and that is shift your worldview. 
Warning. If you are Canadian you might want to take some deep breaths.  It is hard to believe the following statements are true, but I assure you they are.  Work with me, for these are things that Canadians have to work hard at understanding, and just be glad that you didn’t have to make this shift at 6:15am on a Thursday morning, without a drop of caffeine in you.  (By the way, one of the reasons that I believed Tina was that although she lives in the Pacific Northwest, she lives up high and sometimes it snows at her house, so while she doesn’t have Canadian standards- she’s not completely SHOCKED by winter weather and doesn’t get too loopy or high drama about it.)

1.Statement one. Snow is almost impossible to drive in.

For the record, I didn’t learn this one from Tina, because she drives in snow sometimes. I learned it from the people driving away from the Inn while there was about a centimetre of snow in some spots, who had put CHAINS ON THEIR CAR.  (That shocked Tina too.) If there had actually been snow, then that would have been really, really bad.  I admit that when people suggest that because it is snowing they can not go places, I try to imagine how long we would have to go between grocery store visits in Toronto- and the climate there is mild compared to most of Canada.  Truth be told, snow is rare enough in these parts that really, there are no plows, no sanders, no salters (or at least not nearly enough) and nobody owns a car scraper or a shovel.  It doesn’t take much snow to overwhelm the inexperienced and under-equipped.  It does mess you up pretty bad though, if you think this is a fairly snowy road that you should be careful on:

but you are hearing that this:

May be risky.  (Truth is, it was.  Go figure.)

2. It snowed, then sort of melted, then it got cold. This resulted in ICE. 

Second statement:  Ice is a very bad thing to have.  To understand this, I had to shift my worldview to a place where ice precludes driving.   I understand that all those previous statements about sand, salt, ice and experience, and I even understand what Tina meant when she said that she’s not worried about her skills, but everyone else’s and that even if she could do it, we could still get creamed by somebody struggling with a lack of ice experience. Still, as I stood there, looking at the ice, I had to work very hard to accept the idea that ice means no driving. At home, this would mean no driving for months on end… Tina reminded me that there are hills.  Slopes.  Dark and winding roads perilously covered in Ice.  I tried to go there, I respected her expertise and experience and greater knowledge of that part of the world, but the whole time I was just thinking about St. Johns, Newfoundland.

3. If the water freezes, that is shocking.

See that.  The top of that water was frozen.  As a matter of fact, it was frozen ALL DAY.  It was so cold in Port Ludlow, that the weather guys were warning people to take appropriate precautions and check on elderly neighbours.
It was 28F.  That’s -2 C. 

I’m still working on shifting that one.

464 thoughts on “Underway

  1. I had to make the same shift after moving from NYC to Pennsylvania. At the mere hint of snow, schools here close and bread and milk vanish from store shelves. Wimps. NYC schools didn’t close for less than 12 inches, provided it all fell in the same 24 hour period. Ice, however, makes me nervous, but for the same reason Tina mentioned. I’m fine with my own driving skills, but it’s the folks around me who scare me. PS, DH is from Rochester NY and he finds all this snow/ice drama endlessly amusing.

  2. I live in Wisconsin—we know about snow and ice and cold too. Some places just don’t realize how good they’ve got it!

  3. After a few years of living in New Hampshire, I similarly had to change my world view when in the Mid-Atlantic. Here, the word “snow” in the forecast is enough to cause panic. Last year an old friend sent me a photo of her house in NH with serious snow. As in snow up to the second story of her house. I sent her one of our Snowmageddon – 3 feet. They got dug out before we did. It’s all what you are used to.
    And yes, no one around here can seem to drive in this stuff. Last year, while driving in a snowstorm (and it was a storm even by NH standards) I watched from my drivers seat saying “dude..no…don’t hit your brakes..don’t do it…doood!” and he did and spun across 2 lanes of highway narrowly missing the van in front of me.

  4. Living in Nebraska, this much snow and ice would mean being careful and taking extra time going to and from work. We had 4 inches of snow yesterday, and no one let it stop then from carrying on with their day today.

  5. That same “winter storm” shut down a ton of events and schools started late and we got no snow. It would snow a little then melt. But the fact that people woke up to white stuff on the ground Wednesday morning meant that the city shut down. My friend with snow tires refused to leave her house.
    Yes, the city really isn’t equipped to deal with it, but I grew up here and I don’t understand it!!
    Glad you’re headed home 🙂

  6. To be fair, the reasons why the snow and ice were dangerous was because they so rarely get them. I lived in Vancouver for twelve years before moving to Edmonton (now in my fourth winter (dear god save me!)) and no one there has snow tires. If it only snows one week out of 52, who needs them? Those people were probably putting chains on summer tires.

  7. For a short time, I lived on the island of Gran Canaria which is near the equator just off the coast of Africa. One day, the temperature dropped to 18 C and the locals were all shivering and layering on jackets and sweaters. Being a prairie girl from Canada, I was still in shorts and a tee. That is when I realized that it really makes a difference when you come from a country where we need the entire range of the thermometer from minus 40 C to plus 40 C. (Farenheit maybe 40 below to 104 above?)

  8. I am a southern California native and have been a resident of the PNW for the past 7+ years, and even I have issues with this. Snow isn’t SO rare here that we shouldn’t know how to deal with it. SCHOOLS WERE CLOSED yesterday for–I shit you not–a quarter of an inch of snow that had melted by noon. By midafternoon, it was downright balmy at 40*F. It’s insane.

  9. The *entire* PNW isn’t like that — I’m from central Washington state, and we can deal perfectly well with snow and ice, thank you very much. I make no remarks on the west side of the Cascades, though.
    But if you *really* want to break your brain — I’m going to university in New Orleans, right now, which is in a region where schools will cancel for the chance of snow, and when the temperature gets down to 40 F, there are all kinds of serious warnings about taking care of plants and pets. (Apparently, the trick to keeping your palm trees and other assorted greenery from freezing and dying is to wrap it in Christmas lights, then fasten a tarp over it, then plug in the Christmas lights. It will create a warm environment! And drive your electricity bill up, no doubt.) My freshman year, it snowed for the first time in four years, and a bunch of the southern kids had never seen snow before and thus went out and frolicked, before they came back inside and were really confused why they were wet. “Because,” said the northerners grimly, “SNOW IS FROZEN WATER.”

  10. I completely agree that must have been quite the shift for you. I’ve spent my entire life in the southern US and have always realized how strange it is that we hide from snow. I really think it’s more of an excuse to let the poor teenagers make their first snowman since it only comes around once a decade. But the ice…oh, the ice. Beware if you live in a state that loves NASCAR on an icy day. That’s why I stay inside. Plus the fact that I don’t feel comfortable driving on any surface that could cause oneself to do impromptu acrobatics when on foot–such as flips or splits. Great post. Really puts my upbringing in perspective.

  11. I grew up in, and learned how to drive in, the greater Seattle area. The city pretty much grinds to a halt when it snows. Where I live now people somehow panic while driving in the rain. *rolls eyes*

  12. I’m with you…grew up in VT, where we knew about snow and ice and salt and driving in low gear.
    But now I live in MD, and while I still know about those things?
    Everyone else doesn’t. Driving here in winter is WAY, way more dangerous than up north. The roads aren’t designed for it, the cities aren’t as prepared, and the drivers?
    The drivers are morons.

  13. What most people don’t realize though when they call us wimps is that we have none of the equipment to deal with bad weather that those in the frozen north have. We had a snow and ice storm recently here in Texas that resulted in about five inches on the ground, but everything came to a standstill because we didn’t have anything to clear the roads and nobody has snow tires or snow chains on their cars. Those who do get out end up going off the road or getting stuck because there is almost always ice under the snow. I visited my sister’s in Wisconsin and they had a snow storm and we woke up the next morning and all the roads were completely cleared. We’re not wimps, we just can’t afford to equip cities for something that happens once or twice a winter.

  14. “yer not frum aroun’ here, are ya?” said in a Deliverance sort of twang…
    I live in Michigan. We know snow (but not like Canadians know snow) and we know that there are many places where 1″ of snow causes schools to close. Go figure!

  15. I knew there was a reason I wanted to move to the PNW. I don’t mind snow (from Michigan), but I’d rather hibernate, and the overall milder temperatures is a big draw for me. Even the abundance of rain is no deterrent. Beam me up!

  16. I had to grin. Welcome to winter in Western Washington. No one here can deal with snow. We even have a cute bus advertisement for it (First Snowflake Freakout Lady, featuring a woman in a parka putting chains on a car on a bare road).

  17. All true! After 40 years of living in the Chicago suburbs I moved to Western WA. My son’s first, very FIRST snow day for school was here where the snow barely covered the grass. There may be a few plows here (they still don’t grip the concept of putting the blade down) and they spray de-icer (that doesn’t work) once in awhile, but the hills and winding roads take all of my midwest skills. (5 years and I still hate black ice) And the natives? DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DRIVE IN THIS. Case in point, I took a personal day today to avoid the no-experience drivers. Glad you made it out.

  18. I’m with Krista, above. While I live in the snow belt, let’s be kinder to those who rarely get snow and are not equipped to deal with it. And you know what, for example, southerners know how to deal with heat and humidity. They don’t complain like many northerners, including me. They air condition.

  19. Wow…coming from Virginia, which is way farther south than Washington, that just blows my mind. I would so drive in that. However, my husband and I weren’t so cavalier about snow when trying to get from Seattle to Winthrop through the Cascades in February on our honeymoon. We knew we were in trouble when we were passed by trucks with chains on. It took 9 hours to get to Winthrop (it normally takes 5 hours). And we flipped the car in Wenatchee because of ice (after crossing the passes in the Cascades, the roads were looking pretty good). So you never know…
    I hope you made it home without incident.

  20. Well, last night I went to be to a dry, brown yard and got up to 4 inches. Most of the folks around me were going just fine. I got lucky and didn’t Have to go out! And I’m in central Indiana!

  21. I grew up in eastern Idaho (where we get real snow- not Canadian snow, but a good 8-12 inches in one dumping is not unusual) and spent my freshman year of college in the Seattle area. Just before Christmas break, we got 3 inches of really wet snow that melted off by the end of the day. Child’s play in Idaho. Closed down the entire town. 250 Metro buses were off the road, electricity went down throughout most of the city and the suburbs (and some places didn’t get it back for 3 weeks) and everyone was in total panic on campus because there was no electricity, snow was on everything, classes were canceled, and you really couldn’t drive (even if you knew how- those Metro buses still on the road are dangerous things!) because it was SNOW people!
    I just really enjoyed having the day off!

  22. Oh, come on! Even here in Australia -2*C isn’t even all *that* cold! And I’ve driven in more snow than that. Without chains.

  23. HIlarious! There has been the threat (not the actuality, just the threat) of “snow showers” in the San Francisco Bay Area. This now-fading possibility has occupied the news reports, the weather reports, and the conversations of most residents for two days. Unbelievable. I moved from the East Coast 40 years ago and still can’t get used to the panic that a 40F degree day can elicit. Anyway, glad you are safely home. Thanks for the smiles. (Nice socks, by the way…)

  24. As a Seattle born and bred girl, I never could figure why, after a stretch of dry days even rain would spazz out all the drivers. Really…it was sad. My mother lives in Eastern WA and I’ve driven many a time in snow, and over ice (though I respect the nastiness of that particular beast) too, and my answer to all the silliness of other drivers refusal to drive was to let my car live happily with four superb snow tires on. Gods, we love those things! But even they don’t help always, what with the bloody hills all over the place!
    (Car was recently trashed going about 5mph to put chains on said snow tires when it hit black ice and ended up trying to hump the rear end of a semi parked to put on it’s chains.)

  25. Having lived in the Pacific Northwest most of my life, I can safely say that people here freak out when we get snow, because we don’t get it very often. Not that this justifies our behavior when it does come. But we tend to freak out.

  26. lol!
    Today my granddaughter’s preschool cancelled going outdoors today because they thought it was too cold. It was only -14C, the sun was shining, it would have been a great day to play outside for awhile.
    She begged to go outside on her own when she got home, she’s a great Canadian baby!

  27. She’s not kidding, people. I was in Tacoma, which is south of Seattle, during that same time period. That tiny amount of snow and ice was headline news on every local channel, like it was the Apocalypse. Coming from Denver, it was quite amusing.

  28. Even light snow IS perilous when there are:
    No snow plows
    No sanding trucks
    No snow tires
    No chains
    Patches of black ice, and
    No experience or sense among the drivers.
    Believe me, it’s perilous.

  29. I still marvel at the reaction of Ontarians to snow, and we get our fair share! I grew up in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. We rarely missed school because of snow, even if it had drifted so high you couldn’t see out of the windows of the house. We’d only miss school if the pipes froze and the school had no water, otherwise…we had to go to school (uphill, both ways).

  30. Yep. In the coastal part of the northwest we are wimpy about the snow and cold… and many of us dont know how to drive in the weather but even scarier are the overblown news report about arctic event 2011. Are you sure the sky isn’t falling?

  31. Welcome to my world, Dear Harlot. My poor brain has been struggling with these very same concepts since moving here to Tulsa, OK from Nova Scotia 6 years ago. It snows or ices here at least once a year (in varying amounts) and it never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t have even a proper shovel — my husband to be included! But then again, most believe in the “Divine Intervention” of snow removal — you know, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away!
    My husband once said to me “Babe, I don’t know if I could handle winters in Canada” — because we do plan to move back there in the future — and I replied, “Well, no worries babe, we believe in neat things like *gasp* snowplows, and salt for the roads, and proper snow tires and shovels and scrapers, and the best of all, wool sweaters!” 🙂

  32. This made me laugh. I can see why they panic and can’t clear the roads without equipment. That’s understandable, but when I moved to the Philadelphia area after going to high school in Boulder Colorado where snow is taken in stride, and a lot of snow, I simply couldn’t believe it. It’s not like it never snows here. It snows every year, several times a year – they have equipment to clean it up… but it is like aliens are invading! Buy up all the bread, milk, eggs and tiolet paper. I figure the tiolet paper is because after a steady diet of french toasat…

  33. Sigh…I’m from Winnipeg. I grew up in southern Manitoba…we drive through EVERYTHING. If the roads are open, we’re driving. People on the west coast are wimps. (and I’m allowed to say that, my boyfriend lives in Abbotsford and he agrees, lol) We had a nice -36C this morning with windchill.

  34. I was visiting Austin, Texas on Feb 8-9. That part of Texas was colder than usual and the rain that fell overnight was frozen solid by morning into a very thin sheet of ice. It was still below freezing. As I waited in the lobby of the hotel to be picked up to go to the airport (wearing my Canada sweatshirt and Toronto Argonauts jacket and with a big hockey bag on wheels as luggage!), one lady came into the hotel exclaiming “How am I going to get the ice off my car?” I told her to turn on her car, hit the defrost buttons, wait a minute or two and all would be well. Shortly after explaining this, I saw a gentleman go walking through the lobby with a bucket of hot water and a look of determination on his face. I stopped him, saying “Please tell me that you aren’t going to pour that on your car” “Well, I need to melt the ice on my windshield!” “I understand that, sir, but you will shatter your windshield if you pour that on” “How do you know that?” “I’m a Canadian. Trust me on this one” He did. 🙂

  35. On the other hand, for the first year after we moved to the Boston area, I had to listen to people warning me about Winter Weather. “Just wait!” they told me. “It’ll be something!”
    People, I was raised in Wisconsin and Iowa, went to college in Minnesota, and spent most of my adult life in Chicago. I know from snow. (And it gets a lot colder in the Midwest than it does here. Windchill.)

  36. I live in San Diego where the entire year we average between 60-70F all year round. We have almost no weather here so when it RAINS it takes me twice as long to get to work. My theory is that there are two kind of rain drivers- those who decides 90 mph is an acceptable speed and those who slow to 30 mph because OMG ITS RAINING. And those two don’t mix on the many highways around here.
    When it snowed in Atlanta a lot this year, I swear that their snow removal policy was to wait until it melted. It’s not much better in much of the South (where I have also lived).

  37. I live in Perth, Western Australia. Today the maximum is going to be 39 degrees C (102 degrees F). It has been 35 degrees C (95 degrees F) or above for four weeks with 40% + humidity. There is no change for the forseeable future. I have fantasies about snow days.

  38. I moved from Portland — with the occasional seemingly- lame- but- exceedingly- treacherous snow you describe here, to Northwest Wyoming, where snow is a way of life for 6 months of the year. 10 minutes ago I drove home in a blizzard in the dark and felt perfectly safe. In fact, I look forward to driving 20 miles in even deeper snow first thing tomorrow morning to go skiing. I wouldn’t drive 10 feet in that crazy Northwest ice/snow weirdness. Once when I lived in Portland it snowed six inches followed by a cold snap and they closed the schools for a WEEK. JUSTIFIABLY. That Northwest snow — coupled with the lack of infrastructure for dealing with it — is whacked.

  39. I live in Japan and my worldview shifted when I saw people break out umbrellas for snow. Mere flurries! Seems very silly to this native Upstate New Yorker.

  40. I moved to Seattle from Iowa (and before that, Minnesota and Illinois) and registered at the University of Washington, where I happily attended classes for most of a year without anything untoward happening. One morning I got up and there was about an inch of snow on the ground, so I put on my coat, and, as usual, walked the couple of miles from my apartment to the campus.
    The streets were kind of quiet, but that was nice. I was thinking thoughts (a favorite walking pastime) and enjoying how *little* snow there was (after 4 feet or so at a time in Minnesota, for example).
    When I got to the university it was *really* quiet. I showed up for class, and it turned out the whole campus was shut down. I’m still getting over that (and it’s now decades later).
    It’s true. People in the Puget Sound area are not, for the most part, equipped to handle transporting themselves in even a little snow or ice. Some are. My sister’s car has an ice scraper in it, which I used when I was visiting there last week. Then I drove where I needed to be. The streets were pretty quiet.

  41. I grew up in Vancouver. When I moved to Ottawa, I was having my hair done one afternoon when somebody casually mentioned it was snowing outside. “#&$*%!!” I said, jumping up to look out the window. Four inches of snow already, and more falling. I said several more blasphemous things, then paid for half a haircut, whipped out to my tiny Chevy Vega, and gingerly brought it out of the parking lot into the storm in what I knew was a doomed attempt to get home.
    Surprise! Driving was easy. I had traction. That 4″ of snow gaily smiled at me as it ballooned up and over my hood and away from my car, letting me drive just fine. I spent two years in Ottawa and two years in Edmonton and I have to say – you have no idea what driving in snow in Vancouver is like.
    I know you think you do, but honestly, you don’t.
    In Vancouver I have slid thirty feet sideways (like, with the wheels pointing north and I’m sliding west) while driving a 2,000-lb vehicle, equipped with winter tires, less than two miles an hour. I have skidded on black ice and avoided collisions when the five drivers before me weren’t so lucky. I have been totally stuck in snow that didn’t come up to my ankles. And yes, I know how to drive in snow, thankyouverymuch. Snow in Vancouver is like really slippery wet cement. On top of an ice rink.
    And that’s with proper winter tires. And, of course, most people don’t own snow tires and if they do they don’t put them on. And the salting and sanding guys work hard but they can’t be everywhere.
    So when it snows in Vancouver, you just don’t go anywhere. And if you do you know there’s a chance you won’t get where you’re headed. They’re forecasting snow for tomorrow. I thought I’d mention it because you say you’re on your way and I want you to understand.
    Snow bad.

  42. Now, try to take that mind shift and make it when you’re ANYWHERE in Texas. We had “the Great Blizzard” (as an English major and an editor, I had to bite my tongue from yelling at people about that).
    (Just read the previous commenter. She missed the Great Blizzard by a couple of days.)
    I got a three-day weekend because the roads were “too dangerous.” And to be fair, at least two people were killed. So I was okay with not taking my car and inexperienced-with-snow self out into that particular situation.
    I sat in front of a fire and knit all day. I almost wished I lived somewhere where it snowed a lot during winter, then it occurred to me that my boss would probably expect me to drive to work in it instead of letting me sit at home and knit all day for months on end.
    And I hate being cold.

  43. Its only a matter of what you’re used to, maid. Some people just don’t know how to drive in snow. Even in St. John’s.

  44. Well, today it started snowing at 5:30 a.m. and when it stopped at 4 p.m., we had about a foot of snow. When my husband and I got home from work, we parked the cars on the street and shoveled and snowblowed for an hour to clear the driveway. No big deal – we do it all the time. We live in central NY. I do have to say we are getting mighty sick of the snow. And I really wasn’t happy when I slipped on some ice and now have a very sore black and blue knee.
    It’s all a matter of perspective. I’m beginning to think I want a southern perspective instead of a northern perspective.

  45. Here in Minnesota I have not seen the pavement for the snow on the street in front of my house since October. Still driving. Oh well.

  46. Laughing and sighing at the same time.
    I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about.
    Good luck going home!
    BTW, the two of the only three times I’ve had deicing done is at the Seattle airport. Funny, that.

  47. I’m one of those wimps down in Texas…we had a bad winter cuz we had about 7 days below 32 degrees (0 for you, Steph). I mean, it got down to 23 a couple of times! In Houston, during that ice storm we’ve all told you about, we had 800 accidents in 4 hours.
    I didn’t leave the house. I’m not stupid. I don’t know how to drive in that stuff.

  48. Okay, so here in Mostly Sunny Northern California there is an ::actual threat of snow::!! at sea level (which is where we pretty much where we live, give or take a couple of hundred feet).
    This is cause for Big-Major-Drama on the local news services. Should the real deal white stuff fall down on our home I plan on hunkering down with couple of warm cats, good tea, and Malabrigo…

  49. Ah, St. John’s. I was a student, renting a wee house in the Battery, and that winter most roads were reduced to single lane only by the snow piles (which submerged street signs and traffic lights) and every morning I’d round the corner by the Hotel Newfoundland and pray like hell to make it to the the top of the hill in my crappy little truck before spinning out altogether.
    Loved it.

  50. I’m having a hard time shifting as well! lol I don’t live in Canada, but live in the Northeast-it hit the upper 20’s and you begin to see people outside with shorts on! (not me mind you, but it is not at all unusual! lol) Winding roads, steep hills – but I have to give her credit for being cautious and realizing that the services aren’t there to treat the roads and there are others that will drive when they really shouldn’t 🙂 Happy flight!

  51. Glad you made it safe to the airport and stayed an extra day. One of my school mates from high school died on Tuesday about 20 minutes from Pt. Ludlow driving on the ice. While it doesn’t look like much to those from the great white north, we are woefully unprepared (a car scraper? Huh?!) and haven’t felt a great need to be prepared because it happens so infrequently.
    I live about three hours north of there and still laugh that about 10 years ago my city sold every.single.sander/snow plow. They quickly regretted it when the next year it snowed over a foot.

  52. Heh. I’ve driven in snow exactly once, a few years ago, and I had to pull over and stay in a motel. Now that I live somewhere that gets snow sometimes, I am very thankful to work at home so I don’t have to drive in it. Nobody wants me on the roads when it’s snowy! (Least of all me.)

  53. Is it possible that we are looking at this wrong and that this whole snow/ice/cold/stay home thing is really a a knitter’s evil ploy for a little extra serious knitting time? Cause you know, we knitters are kind of tricky like that…

  54. I grew up in Tacoma, WA and now live in Houston, TX. Same thing happens in both places. A little snow or ice, and it’s dangerous. I’ve also lived in Michigan and Iowa. A little snow is no big deal there. It has nothing to do with wimpy-ness…it’s about how the cities can/cannot deal with the snow and how experienced people are in driving with it. Schools here canceled on the THREAT of snow a few weeks ago. The irony: THERE WAS NO SNOW! Not one flake! LOL!

  55. Heck, I’m an east-coast American and I’m amazed/amused.
    In Pittsburgh, you may not see the sun for up to three months (cloud cover, yay). There may be snow or some derivative thereof (slush, hail, frost) on the ground from September to April. It takes at least six inches of snow for any self-respecting school to delay classes, and a foot to close for the day. And the majority of us will gladly go out in below-freezing weather wearing little more than a sweatshirt and jeans. I have personally seen “shirts vs. skins” snowball fights on college campuses.
    Moral: The west coast is weird and silly. Pay them no heed.

  56. Laugh all you like, but my car was totaled last month after I drove it on a not-very-winding mountain road in the PNW, with about an inch of snow over a layer of ice. And my husband is waiting for a replacement windshield, after a snowplow kicked up a bunch of gravel that pitted his in a dozen places.
    Our insurance company is not at all pleased that we’ve moved here.

  57. Clearly, they do not live southeast of a Great Lake! Glad you are soon home and back to normal where the grass has once again disappeared beneath a lovely 10 inch layer of more snow.

  58. We deal with that idiocy here in Louisiana. People don’t know how to drive on snow and ice. We don’t have chains or stud tires. We don’t own proper winter gear. I have a scraper. But most people I know don’t understand this. They think I’m strange for having a scraper in my car. I don’t drive in snow and ice BECAUSE the locals have no experience. Snow and ice are lovely. My husband thinks I’m crazy for wanting to move to where there is snow and ice. As long as I have wool, I can work on being warm!

  59. Minus 2? If only…its currently minus 32 here in the northwest of Ontario, and still dropping. And now you know what we who live north and west of the Great Lakes feel like when they say that “Snowmaggedon” is closing Toronto down, when we drive through that kind of weather every week and never snag a single headline.
    Not that i wish my weather on anyone, but when wearing long johns becomes a fashion statement…well.. Enough said.

  60. I’m so with you, Steph. It is such a shift. An inch of snow shuts Portland down. It messes up a girl who grew up in Canada and Montana that an inch of snow is dangerous to be out in. But better safe than sorry….

  61. I live in Nashville, where it took me five hours to drive 35 miles a couple of weeks ago when we received 3 inches of snow. Yes, it’s strange to those who are used to getting feet upon feet of snow, but that’s just it — we aren’t used to it.
    Problem was that I think we’re so accustomed to people making fun of us for our “snow panic” that a lot of people ignored those weather advisories that we’d be getting three — yes, three — inches of snow. This meant that the snow hit in the middle of rush hour, and the gridlock that ensued meant that the snow melting from sitting cars refroze into ice right under the cars, resulting in a lot of Southerners with no snow chains sliding off the street into the ditches. A number of my coworkers had to spend the night in a hotel mere miles away from our office because they truly could not get home.
    Yes, it actually was dangerous, just as being thrown in something as silly and foolish as a shallow pond full of simple, clean water can be dangerous to someone who doesn’t know how to swim.
    And in the summer, those people in the Pacific Northwest will get the occasional heat wave and have similar advisories. And we Southerners understand that they don’t have air conditioning because they so rarely need it, with those nice, cool Pacific breezes and relatively reasonable temperatures for most of the season. So we reserve our judgment when temperatures that we would consider a balmy July day send them checking on the elderly, too.

  62. You nailed it! I moved to the Pacific Northwest from upstate New York and am endlessly amused at the reaction to a tiny bit of snow here. Good grief!

  63. I’m still not sure… are you making fun of people in the Pacific Northwest for how they react to the snow or are you pointing out that the PNW doesn’t have the infrastructure to make the roads safe? Not that I’m offended or anything like that, just curious about how people from other places view the scenerio here. I’ll take any excuse to stay home from school/work and knit in my pajamas.

  64. Hmmmm…. as someone who lives on the West Coast of Canada, my Canadian standards are somewhat different from yours.8^)
    Adele is right. Driving in the snow on the Wet Coast is different. It’s best to stay home. In a few days it will change back to rain and everything will be grey, depressing and normal again.

  65. I once encountered a winter storm in Clovis, New Mexico. That’s about 100 miles west from Lubbock and Amarillo, Texas. Clovis got 18 to 19 inches of snow in 24 hours. Did the entire town curl up and go into hibernation?
    NO. Although they rarely get more than an eighth of an inch of snow in any give snowstorm, they were prepared to deal with somewhat more. The town had dump trucks and garbage trucks that could be (and were) fitted with plows and salt/grit spreaders. Those who knew how to drive in snow did. Those who did not got out and walked (or got someone to teach them how to drive in snow). The town continued to function. The stores were open. The mail got delivered. And the earth did not fall off its axis and out of orbit.
    The moral: If you live somewhere that gets any snow whatsoever during the winter, insist to your public officials that the community needs to be prepared to deal with snow. Maybe not the blizzard that only happens once a century, but the kind of snowfall that happens only once in every 5 years. It’s well worth the money, especially when that once-a-century blizzard happens.
    (YH: Thanx for the soapbox. Hope the recipient likes those socks as much as I do.)

  66. Living in the northern Minnesota woods for 10 years, the Twin Cities for 20 years, and Chicago for the 40 years before that, I have had a lifelong love/hate relationship with snow. Actually mostly love it, because with enough of it I certainly have had a lot of surprise knitting days.
    1 – You learn to stay home until your driveway/road to underground parking/country road is plowed and the car (4-wheel drive baby, of course) can behave.
    2 – You really learn to respect both black ice (flipped and totaled a new pickup on it a few years ago) and an inch of snow over ice.
    3 – You definitely learn to give the amateurs or out-staters a very large operating area, if you can’t avoid them altogether.
    4 – and last of all, if the semis are pulling off into the rest areas for the duration, it’s time to find a motel.
    But it’s so pretty so often. And fun to walk/ski in, too. Even with temps around -40 F at times, not to mention the wind chill, I do love living in the north. BUT DEAR GOD, isn’t it about time for spring?? Are you listening up there??!!

  67. My Canadian (Winnipeg native) husband and I (we live near Lake Michigan now) laughed hysterically reading this. Roll off the couch laughing. Those crazy Pacific Northwesterners. School doesn’t even get called off here for two FEET of snow. And 28 degrees is sweater-only-no-coat weather. Hell, at 35 degrees, people put flip flops back on.

  68. So loved reading all of the comments and laughing! I live in Los Angeles where it is raining and people are in a panic about driving in the rain (for good reason, they don’t know how) and that the snow level might fall to 1000 feet. It will close some roads and we don’t have the equipment or experience to deal with even a frozen windshield…..no scrappers. I lived in Connecticut for a few years and learned and gave my neighbors a laugh when they watched my steep learning curve. Hope you all get home safely and stay warm.

  69. I just moved to Seattle from New Jersey this year. I laughed my way through this post, for sure. While NJ doesn’t get near the amount of snow or ice that Toronto does, the way Seattlelites treat snow (or COLD…it was apparently frigid today when it was 30F…and that was all anyone could talk about this morning) still boggles my mind. On the other hand, having seen the way buses slide down these hills, I do kind of understand.
    Kind of.
    Hope you have a good trip home.

  70. Oh this is priceless. I grew up in the Seattle area until I graduated from high school, then moved to Minnesota. So all your comments about Canada meshed quite well with my experiences here. The two things that scared me about winter driving in Seattle were: 1 – other drivers; 2 – snow on top of ice. Other than that people did complain way too much. All the same, glad you were safe and comfortable.

  71. You (along with some people I knew from Minnesota) seem confused about how flat the great lakes area is compared to the Pacific Northwest. It’s not just about a “worldview.” Northwest Washington has something called “terrain” (look at google maps of the Sound area ad click the terrain option). Also, Seattle operates largely on bridges. Which are something that, being over water and getting lots of wind, can become very icy. You wouldn’t want to slide around on one of those bridges; you could dent your car or even end up in the icy water below. Not pretty.
    True, not many of us in the Pacific Northwest ever have to drive in snow very often. But that’s not nearly as interesting as the ice. I’ll tell you what: I used to live on the hill in West Salem (Oregon) and the ice makes driving like rolling marbles around in a bundt cake pan. Gravity wants to push you down to the lowest point, there’s no friction and the path down may not be the least bumpy! Anyway, that’s down. Up is just next to impossible without traction. (Ask me how I know!)
    So ice is ok if it’s flat, like a skating rink. But there’s not much flat in western Oregon and Washington.

  72. Haha. Oh the west side of the state. I’m in Spokane, WA which is on the opposite side of Washington state. We just got dumped on with a foot of snow. I’ll take their 28 degrees and barely noticeable ice and they can have the 5 degrees it is currently here.

  73. I always have to shift my world view when I hear of or head to southern Ontario. As a born Northerner and a teacher, the concept of schools CLOSING on snow days is totally foreign. Up “north” here (and I’m in Sudbury – it’s not that far north, really) and up towards Timmins, where I grew up, “snow days” meant that the school buses weren’t running. The schools were open and if you could make it to school, classes would happen.
    In southern Ontario, teachers don’t have to go to school on snow days.

  74. I have to admit that we’ve gotten a bit more snow than normal (well, it was a bit more than normal in January, but we leveled back off this month). People didn’t come in to work because they were shoveling out, and part of me could understand that. Only a part. I assumed I would need to get to work and reasonably on time, so I got up early to shovel.
    Getting praise for being to work on time is just weird.

  75. I grew up on a mountainside in Alaska. I was the QUEEN of winter driving. When I moved to Seattle, I had the exact same experience that you are describing. Over the years, I’ve softened up my attitude toward snow in our area. The truth is, the vehicles are simply not outfitted for snow. No matter how good a winter driver you may be, if your vehicle isn’t outfitted for snow and ice, you’re a danger to everyone else out on the roads. Now imagine the non-winter drivers in their non-outfitted cars out there on the roads.
    The real reason for the phobia you experienced is that the Nov. 22 snow storm meant it took people six hours to drive three miles. Some people had a twelve hour “commute”. No one wants to play that game again.

  76. So I can only imagine what you would have thought at hearing this on the weather report here last week: “Possible sprinkles. TAKE PRECAUTIONS.” (I live in San Diego, where the slightest sign of precipitation results in an extra hour tacked on to the daily commute, so this is actually pretty good advice.)

  77. For the record, here in Wisconsin we drive in all kinds of weather – that is not unique to Canada – not that I have anything against Canada – in fact, we make the same jokes about our more southern states that you have made here on your blog. It is hard to drive on true ice, though, whether you are from Canada or not.

  78. We are weather wimps in Seattle. But so often we get the dreaded ice underneath snow – and with steep hills, no plows, etc, it’s a bad combination. We had a storm in November where the temperature dropped so quickly when it got dark (4 pm) that all the salt and de-icer did no good – the freeway was a parking lot and it took some people 12 hours to get home. Very traumatizing – so the best course is to stay off the roads if you can. Also very hard to predict the snowfall here – the mountains and water cause rain shadows and convergence zones – you just never know what’s going to happen. Sorry, Steph!

  79. If you think it’s bad there, you should see when it snows in Arizona. Snow happens once every 5-10 years and even then it is shocking if it actually sticks. A few years back we had 1-3 inches (2-7cm) of snow and there were so many accidents that every bridge was closed, school canceled and workplaces closed. There were a handful of plows for most of the southern half of the state, no salt and only a little bit of sand. The people who did have to drive were scraping the ice off of their windshields with credit cards with bare hands while wearing sweatshirts because that was the warmest thing they owned. I was very happy to have a dad that insisted I learn to drive on ice and family that lived someplace cold enough that my whole family owns wool socks, sweaters and an ice scraper. This post amused me greatly and reminded me of our last snowstorm. It also reminded me of a cold spell we had a few weeks ago where it got down to 18F (-8C) and large portions of the city I live in lost water, gas and electricity because the infrastructure couldn’t handle the weather and no one had ever insulated their pipes.

  80. I’m a Lower Mainlander, also know as a Greater Vancouverite (and now apparently a person who lives in Metro Vancouver).
    I was born and raised in the rain. We have all sorts of words for rain. When the clerk in the windowless mall asks “How hard is it raining” one may reply ” Pht, thick mist” or “Meh, held my coat shut as I came in”, or for a deluge that would float the Ark straight up and said as though being beaten in defeat “I had to put my hood up”.
    You see those of us who were born here only carry umbrellas for when we will be in situations where we must STAND in the rain – like bus stops. We usually can’t be bothered to open the damn thing and then have to re-wrap it for something as trivial as walking from A to B.
    So it amazes us when when visitors come here and then cancel plans because of the rain. Hey people – if we did that nothin’ would get done. Our kids play soccer on artificial turf with drainage or gravel. It’s not a good game until some kid has to have the stones picked out of a knee.
    Where you talk of shovels, blowers and chains we talk about drainage tiles, civic duty to clear leaves from drains and the news stations tell you where the really big puddles are. You know, the kind that will drown your car engine if you try to power drive through it. Those people are really fun to watch.
    When it does snow here we don’t get the fluffy, ball-packing, squeaky, dry snow. No. We get pre-ice. We get black ice. We get streams running under the ice on the road. And most of our cities (with the exception of Richmond (they don’t even have basements there) have inclines. I’m not even sure if there is a stretch of flat road in New Westminster.
    So yes, we have pathetic shovels and kitty litter (sorry Morris) for the sidewalk. And we take the bus to avoid the pachinko game that is Gaglardi Way coming down from SFU.
    Snow is pretty to look at on the local mountains. You take the car or the gondola up to see it and ski. Then you come home to the bare streets.
    In fact I spent most of my younger years reading the Sears catalogue and wondering why they had 6 pages of the “women’s long puffy coats” and “snow blowers”. Now that my kid lives in Calgary I understand the need for the long puffy coat. And my co-workers in the non-Lower Mainland portions of the company have enlightened me.
    But as we have re-written the Katy Perry song
    Wet Coast Girls they’re unforgettable
    Rubber boots and Gortex on top
    Yoga pants and mats
    will keep your body hot
    ohhh oh oh oh oh
    Gotta go – they’ve issued a snow warning for tomorrow – up to 6 centimetres. Better check I’ve brought the big shovel in from the garage.

  81. I live in Northern Minnesota next to Lake Superior, so with wind coming off the lake we don’t get above the single digits (Fahrenheit) for most of January and February (not to mention the negative-cold-freezes-eyelids-shut windchill). I’ve been contemplating a move to the Pacific Northwest, but I would also have big problems with this mind switch. It got up to the 20’s for a couple days and I was outside in a hoodie…

  82. This made me laugh. Here in Pennsylvania, it takes about an inch and a half for them to close school, and it needs to have fallen before they can do something about the roads. Something is a loose term which may mean plowing, sort of. They don’t actually get the roads de-snowed to spare the plow blades. Which means that what’s left is a tightly packed layer of snow that turns icy almost immediately. Which to me defeats the purpose of plowing.
    Nobody seems to be really prepared for snow around here, and really, snow shouldn’t shock anybody. It happens every year, generally before Christmas. Last year we got a cumulative 5 ft in two weeks. That’s pretty serious snow. But it never fails that if we get more than, say, three inches, it’s the top news story on the local news.
    I will admit that snow scares me, but I’m working hard at overcoming my paranoia. I was attacked by a random puddle on a sunny day around two years ago, and ended up dangling from my seatbelt looking DOWN at my passenger side window. I’ve just really overcome my fear of rain, and snow is next on my list. 🙂

  83. Ok I can definitely see ice making driving dangerous. I can even believe that the wet snow would be more slippery than what I am used to in Ont. Probably behaves more like mud on pavement (very slick and prevents traction – you just slide).
    But frozen water? -2C? I’m pretty sure that North American homes have central heating or at least baseboard.
    Mind you, we just had another snowstorm that wasn’t. Weather people hyping it up and then … nuttin’

  84. Yeah, as a Seattlite born and raised, I can attest that we are woefully under-prepared to deal with any sort of snow whatsoever. I have dealt with winters in other places that get far more snow, but I still don’t want to be out on the roads in the snow here simply because so few of the other drivers on the road have any idea what they’re doing. We’re generally blessed with a relatively mild climate, and what we consider to be extremes in either direction hardly register to people from other areas.

  85. Oh my this tickled me more than I can say. I am a former Seattle-ite. Born and raised in the PNW. For all but one of my 40 years I lived there.
    Then, this last summer I moved to Canada. Near Edmonton, Alberta. I am in the midst of my first winter.
    There has been a HUGE learning curve. HUGE. I have gotten frostbite once. I now have to take at least five solid minutes just to get dressed enough to go outside to get wood for the stove. In Seattle? I could go out in my jammies and slippers, no dressing required.
    I love my new home, and this post made me laugh more than I can tell you. Thank you.

  86. I’m originally from Wisconsin but now live in Seattle. I was stunned yesterday when the principal said they were considering closing school for Friday because it was supposed to be “really cold”. Really? The overnight low was 21 degrees…that’s really cold? Ha!

  87. We just finished with -33 weather and alot of snow.. I am from Northern British Columbia… Snow and cold are winter! I can’t imagine stoping life because of it. These are the best knitting months going!

  88. I live in St. Louis, MO, land of “we can’t decide what season it is. Ever.” 5 days ago it was 74F. While I was asleep last night, we got sleet and snow. By this coming Sunday we are supposed to be at 64F. I agree, I don’t mess with ice. Snow’s fine, & I live in the city, where they don’t plow much. But pick a season and stick with it, for heaven’s sakes!

  89. Hi, I know that you must have found it as irritating as I found the same “statements” when I lived in London and it snowed.
    It wasn’t much, it wasn’t frozen, and there were fenderbenders at every corner. They just couldn’t drive on snow and the worst was that no one even thought about just driving slower. And shifting down instead of standing on breaks. If it weren’t so sad, it might actually have been funny!
    I come from southern Germany and snow is no biggie. I actually had driving lessons and took my test in one of the coldest and snowiest winters they had in the 1980’s and guess what, I passed, and so did a lot of other people.

  90. I’m a Seattle gal too–but grew up in the relatively cold & snowy states of Montana and Wyoming. So, like you, I was flabbergasted by how crazy people get here when a flake of snow hits the ground–that was, until I was sitting in one of those long Metro buses that skidded down one of our icy streets. Boy, that put things into perspective. I’d rather sit at home and knit 😉

  91. Yes, you are absolutely right – we are a little wimpy about snow. However, it’s not always misplaced. The last snowstorm in November was probably pretty mild by your standards, but my son got stuck in traffic for 3 hours and finally had to get off the interstate and get a hotel. Some poor souls were stuck in their cars all night. We just don’t have the equipment to deal with it and it can be terribly unpredictable! For instance, Seattle got almost no snow – we’re only 2 hours away and got 12 inches! Other areas got several feet.

  92. This just seems silly to poke fun at people who rarely get snow. I dunno… just because I live in the snowbelt in Ontario does not make me a better person. Yes, I can drive in snow. But I can completely understand a community that rarely every gets snow having difficulties and no equipment.
    It’s all what you are accustomed to.

  93. i moved from ontario to victoria, bc almost 13 years ago and it still floors me how freaked out people here get when there is snow. i mean they rush to the grocery stores to stock up and then hunker down to wait it out. pretty silly…but once you realize that there is really no snow removal equip’t, no one has snow tires or experience driving in snow because it only happens once or twice each winter for a couple days, then you can forgive a little. even though i can drive in the snow, i’m always nervous about the dude with bald tires speeding toward the yellow light with his turn signal on…yep, that guy and ALL his friends live here. ‘nuf said.

  94. Snow to most of Canada and the northern states is the nice fluffy DRY white stuff. Here in the Vancouver and Seattle areas, snow really means it is raining slush. It is full of water (and heavy as hell if you actually try shovelling it) and is like grease to drive on. Then add a temperature hovering around freezing and you get ice. Ice on hilly roads with no sand/salt and virtually no plows and limited driving experience in this slush makes this part of the country downright scary to drive in (and I’m originally from Ontario).

  95. I guess it’s all perspective, when you think that here in Canada the idea of a -2 day in February is HEAVEN! Living in Calgary, we get those wonderful chinook winds, where it can go from -20 one day to -2 the next day, and people are practically dancing in the streets.

  96. Heck, in Montana schools rarely shut down and roads rarely close. I have driven my kids to school in -40 degree weather when the busses weren’t running but the schools were still open. I’ve driven to work on black ice, freezing rain, slush, lumpy ice (hate that one!), and many inches of snow. I do understand, though, that when a place like Seattle gets ice, there is nowhere to go but down a hill, sliding all the way. We’re in the mountains here, but the slopes are gradual enough to not let that happen.

  97. Well, here in Northern Vermont, we don’t cancel school unless the pipes are frozen in the school or the bus can’t get up the hills. We pride ourselves on our ability to deal with any weather. What we nearly cannot deal with is HEAT. We hate heat. We hate those 90 degree days as we don’t have the equipment to deal with it, and we whine and bitch and sweat, and then all of a sudden it’s snowing again, and we are in our element….complaining about all the drivers who can’t drive well in snow. (flat landers). My daughter is at U Maryland and she laughs because they try to blow snow away with leaf blowers. She had a good guffaw over that, Vermonter that she is…..
    Kathleen in Vermont, where it snowed like heck all day and I cannot, read cannot, walk to the bird feeder, because there is 2 feet on my deck, and piles 4-5 feet high in my yard, piled up between here and there, from the plow. No kidding.

  98. Vancouver has a very similar response to snow and ice. For a Canadian I am terribly I’ll equipped to handle winter

  99. Our first winter in New Hampshire… we just paid big bucks to have 3 feet of snow shoveled off our roof. But I was born and raised in upstate NY….. Niagara Falls, NY. Our Dad worked for one of the chemical companies (Better Living through chemistry— DuPont!)
    He used to get up and shovel our driveway… 8 inches X 40 feet+ HELL ( or give me some warm oatmeal and knit me some socks.) Then h’d drive into the office, all headquarters (Wilmington, Delaware) to be told the head office was closed… THEY HAD AN INCH OF SNOW!
    I can’t help being bitter… as a teacher, I once (circa 1971) drove through an icee storm only to find my school was closed.) Our next car had a raiuo. damn it!

  100. I live here in Port Townsend, Washington. I grew up in the snow. Learned to drive in the snow. Love the snow. Been here for nearly 35 years and I would NOT drive here in one inch of snow, or 28 degrees and one inch of snow. Nope. No way! All those transplanted Californians who can’t, shouldn’t and have never driven in snow are nuts! All those immigrants from other more snowy parts of the world, the I can drive in snow, what are you a wuss kind of people – nope, don’t want to be on the local roads around here with them as they fly by me wheels up in their all wheel four wheel drive. It is nice to close up shop and stay home when it snows. No place to go, just old movies and knitting projects, maybe some chocolate chip cookies. So when my state says it is broke, what expenses can they cut, I say snowplows, de-icer, sanding trucks. Keep us home in the snow. Let us be snowbound. Leave us alone, don’t poke fun at us and remember it never lasts longer than 4 days max.

  101. Being from Wisconsin and having visited Seattle while it was “freezing” (in the 40s!), I have to say, there is just a bit too much whinging for my taste. Ice under snow, that I understand. I slid on my way home from work tonight and we only had a dusting at that point. It doesn’t take much when ice is involved.
    I also find it utterly ludicrous that any state which is primarily desert can say that they have no sand. Has anyone ever heard of a backhoe?

  102. I get it. I really, really do. I grew up in Ajax, outside of Toronto, which is quite close to where you usually live. I understand Southern Ontario’s cold/snow levels. I also spent some time in Waterloo, which is in the snow belt, and which gets WAY more snow than Toronto.
    Now I live in Victoria BC. It does not snow here. Well… it snows maybe once, twice per winter, and everything closes. Just like your experience in the pacific northwest, south of the border. It really is not silly. Many cars have summer tires which are garbage on even a teensy amount of snow. My very very competent and very very familiar-with-snow, also-grew-up-in-Ontario husband is absolutely unwilling to drive when it really snows here. It’s really that unsafe. There literally are not plows. AND IT IS STILL! CANADA! Just saying 🙂

  103. Greetings from Finland! I found that story hard to believe… We have around -20-25C for months, it is also dark most of the day but thank God we have 2 meters of snow because that reflects the little light we have and it is easier to drive… We drive every where and all the time… 100 km/h…

  104. i totally cracked up reading this.
    i’m from michigan and we KNOW about snow.
    i now live in pittsburgh, and they do not.
    i cant believe how ill equipped they are to deal with it, and how normal it seems to me.
    i guess everything’s relative!

  105. OK, so you found our Achilles Heel. Pacific Northwesterners are TOTALLY pussies when it comes to snow. (you may all laugh heartily at our expense). On the other hand, wind storms, and torrential rains are no biggie.
    On the other hand, maybe the “oh goodness, we can’t drive in the SNOW” thing is just the diabolical way us PNW knitters get a knitting day to ourselves. (it’s cold and icy, we should stay home and KNIT!)
    Uh-huh, who’s crazy now!

  106. I grew up in Chicagoland and went to uni down in Urbana so snow, ice and cold were commonplace. However so too were snowplows and gritters and everyone owned a selection of snow shovels. So everyone just got on with the life espite the cold snowy weather.
    I now live in London,UK and am continually amazed by the reaction to snow or cold weather. I too have made the mental shift and remind myself that snow and proper cold are unusual here and there simply is not the infrastructure to deal with it. Better to just settle in and wait it out.

  107. Bah to all those laughing at us for doing badly in the snow! This time it all actually went pretty smoothly, much better than the storm we had right before Thanksgiving. Y’all are saying “here that’s nothing!” Well guess what? *We don’t live there.* I am from Wisconsin, moved here 6.5 years ago so I know about crazy temp ranges and weather, but when your temperatures very rarely go out of a range 20F above or below 55F, subfreezing or 90F days are crazy! In 2008, when we had our last “snowmageddon” where it froze here for a whole TWO WEEKS the city of Seattle had 3 snowplows. Three. For a city of almost 600,000, where the streets are pretty much tiny residentials (one car can go at a time! And they’re not one way streets!), bridges, and steep, giant hills. They’ve gotten MUCH better, but we don’t want to dump millions of dollars into that sort of program for something that typically happens for a few days every couple of years… Especially in these economic times!

  108. ha ha. I live near London, UK, and you should have seen us flailing around when we got the third ‘heavy’ snowfall in the same number of years last November. Not sure how much we got, but wasn’t much more than the height of wellington boots at its worst. People were stranded left right and centre. We didn’t have enough salt, don’t own a snow shovel, don’t change our tyres in the winter, no idea how to drive in snow or ice. And you know, once it got down to Minus 10 degrees C, (that’s 14 degrees F!) People with 4 wheel drive were like gods. My brother-in-law in Maine was laughing his socks off. It’s just what you’re used to.

  109. All of the above for Victoria, BC…no plows, no sand, no salt except on major highways, thawing + refreezing = skating rink. I’ll take your minus whatever, because at least at that temp, the surface is like gravel, not a freshly zambonied arena.

  110. I swear 2/3 of Manitobans drive in the winter on “all season radial tires” which really mean 3 season radials that work on wet and dry pavement. I’ve even done it, but I prefer snow tires, and even better if they’re studded ones. As for calling our snow as “fluffy” you try digging out a snow drift that’s at minus 30 c. It’s like trying to dig out nearly dry concrete. They only close roads if the visibility from blowing snow is less than a few feet, and schools only close when the windchill hits minus 45c as the diesel school buses have difficulty running. As for snow plows, I live rurally and we’re often driving on back roads that never see a sander, and don’t see a plow for weeks unless it’s on a school bus route. You just learn to go slowly, sometimes ramming through drifts at a higher speeds, and NEVER slam on the brakes; those are the ones that end up in the ditch or across the middle of the highway into oncoming traffic. I’s amazing how fast people adjust their driving after the first few snowfalls. If we had Portland’s attitude we’d be stuck indoor from November until the end of March at least!!

  111. How about this one? My niece-in-law is from Calgary. She and my nephew are visiting here in Los Angeles. Niece wants to have a party this Sunday. She was most bewildered because everyone said “But, it might rain!”

  112. I live in Tahoe and I woke up to two feet of fresh snow this morning…I drove to work, albeit rather slowly.

  113. I’m from Alaska – I’m also laughing! They don’t close schools here at all for snow, only once this year and it was the 2nd day of an ice storm, and they only closed then, because a school bus got in a non-serious accident. Debbie in alaska – where we still have about a foot of snow on the ground.

  114. Yes. It all about how an area is able to cope. Doesn’t get all that cold in my part of South Africa. 7C? But then you have to remember that most houses don’t have heat. Even the nice ones. The homes are built to stay cool in summer – winter? – best of luck. Thus, I wear more layers indoors for a RSA winter than I ever did in Chicago.

  115. Good luck with that perspective shift thing… 7 years in California and I still can’t parse certain ideas about what constitutes “cold” and “winter” after growing up in Minnesota…

  116. -2?
    You sure it wasn’t all a cunning plan to stay in and knit?
    The London media gets terribly excited about snow. But its winter, what else did you expect?
    Mind you, I am sure I recall you (on the blog) refusing to go out because it was raining?

  117. Who’s afraid of snow and ice?? Not me. When you drive a 45 foot long, 16 ton bus, unloaded,,,, and as long as a red alert doesnt come down,, you go out to drive. With not being able to call in to take a day off, again there’s not much choice.
    Plus it helps that I commute 87 miles each way to work,,,, in all weather, sigh.
    I can basically get anywhere. In any weather. Even the yarn store,, that is, as long as it’s open!

  118. Here on the Southern Oregon Coast we’ve had warnings about snow possibly on Thursday and Friday. About all DH and I did to prepare for this is bring in our lime tree, our jade plant and the Holiday cactus, all of which would die if left out in the freezing cold. The tulips and fuschia are on their own.
    As for driving, this place is too hilly for driving in slippery ice and snow. There are no plows, no salt and no sand for spreading, even though most of this town is built on sand dunes!!

  119. I’ll amuse the rest of you northern types by admitting that until reading these comments I didn’t know there were summer and winter tires. I’ve been driving in the southern US for twenty five years, and it’s never come up before.

  120. I’m a Prairie girl living in the Maritimes.
    I, too, had a good chuckle.
    Western Seaboarders: thanks for being good sports. We’re not laughing at you, we’re just poking a little fun. Canadians are pretty accustomed to getting ridiculed (you know what I’m talkin’ aboot, eh?) and it’s kind of novel to dish it out for a change.

  121. Ok. Come on down to Dallas and drive a 30 mile commute on a twelve-lane, ice-covered Interstate, in rush hour traffic. But you gotta do it with no plows, no salt, no sand, no deicing chemicals, no snow tires, and no chains. Oh, and since the sun is up, the ice is covered with water. Show us your driving skills on that. ;-))

  122. I, like Debbie, am also in Alaska. I moved here 6 years ago from Utah and was shocked to find that several inches of ice accumulates on the roads very quickly in October, and generally stays until April. However, you acclimate quickly when you drive in it every day, and I learned how to drive on ice, snow, slush, snow on top of ice, and my VERY least favorite, water on top of ice. That is the only situation that seems really dangerous to me now. And no, I don’t have snow tires, studs, or chains. I drive on all season radials and do just fine. The road outside my house never got plowed the first couple winters after we built, and I never got stuck. I think these driving conditions are a big part of why there seem to be more trucks and SUV’s than cars here, though.
    But, I have also tried to drive in a little sporty car with sport tires in snow, and that didn’t go so well 🙂
    I guess I can see both sides of this one. It’s all a matter of what you are used to.
    Same goes with temperatures too. When I lived in Utah, anything below 20 degrees was really cold. Now it has to be below zero for it to seem terribly cold, but if it gets up to 80 in the summer, it seems incredibly hot.

  123. Here in the Southern US, snow is so rare that we just stay home and enjoy it until it melts – usually the same or next day. It is not economical for us to have hundreds of snowplows for such rare events. While those who live north of us are still experiencing snow and blizzards, our flowers are in bloom with a forecast of 75 today. Can’t beat it!

  124. Go ahead, yak it up, laughing guys….
    Until you drive in it, you won’t get it. Trust me. As someone pointed out, the PNW has a little thing called terrain and something that few other areas have–a whole bunch of people who moved up there from areas with NO snow or ice at all, but who think they can drive with the same flair, elan, and speed that they did back home.
    Combine all that with ice and snow and watch me stay home.
    Until you’ve been sitting there watching a southerner slide sideways at 70mph right at you, you’ve no room to talk.
    The PNW may not get as much snow as you cocky folks in other areas, but it’s far more hazardous. So shaddup and knit, already. 🙂 🙂

  125. Vancouverite! All the fun of being Canadian, with hardly any of that pesky snow.
    And if it does snow, the city shuts down. And fair enough; I live halfway up a mountain. If it’s icy, there’s your feet, or your bicycle if you’re feeling daring.

  126. It is a matter of being equipped. I was watching a national weather report earlier in the winter and they said if you add up all of the publicly owned salt trucks/plows in the ENTIRE state of Virginia, there are only 120. My bet is that Toronto has pretty darn close to that many (if not more) just for the city and its immediate suburbs. My sister went to college in Erie, PA and lives in Richmond now and can’t get over the fact that they will delay school or release kids early if there is a threat of snow — before a single flake falls. But, then again, they don’t complain about heat until it tops 110°F and I wimp out in the upper 80s…

  127. Oh, I love your experience of Oregon snow, it’s so true! I’m down here in Eugene, and I was lamenting to my husband of the lack of snow. He reminded me that anything above an inch could paralyze the city and if we actually got the predicted “up to five inches” we’d have some sort of apocolypse occur. The best part about Oregon snow being predicted is that we all run to the grocery store to stock up on rations like we really will be settled in for the winter. He calls it snow madness, and it’s so true.

  128. Love your “worldview shift” — I have lived in upstate NY for 10 years and when I go back home to Oregon, I observe the same phenomenon. Apparently the same thing happens in Las Vegas when it RAINS.

  129. Being from Chicago, I have the same reaction. I’ll never forget the January my daughter & I decided to visit San Antonio Texas for a few days over her winter break from school. She wanted to go somewhere warm & I thought it would be funny visit the place of my birth. The first couple of days it was lovely – high 60’s & sunny. We rode the bikes which the hotel provided to ride to see some of the missions. Then the temp dropped to Judy around freezing & there was about 3″ of snow. Pleasant winter day to us. We walked about a mile to the theater where we had tickets to an a capella concert. Before the began, the leader of the group thanked us for coming out through the horrible weather. Chicagoans take weather in stride. Our local high school closed for a day during the recent blizzard – only the 5th time in its’ 135 year history & the first time since 1979. Takes a couple of feet of snow in less than 24 hours to stop us!

  130. My sweetpea is a freshman at Mississippi State. They got SNOW this year. She said lots of students hadn’t ever seen snow. I asked how it was and heard, “There was enough for them to make muddy snow angels, while we watched and laughed.”
    Our town shuts down for snow as well in E. Tennessee. My favorite was the day after Christmas this year when the roads were clear, but we still didn’t have church.

  131. As a sailor in Upstate NY, I am stunned the BOATS are in the WATER in FEB! And not stove in by ice. Or with fishing shanties next to them. Or snowmobile trails weaving using them as an obstacle course.

  132. Thanks for the laugh, though I’ve had this world-shifting experience myself in a few places. My DH is out in the driveway as I write, cleaning up from about 10″ of new snow here in Maine. My friends are picking me up in half and hour to DRIVE to a knitting class an hour away.
    Hope you got home safe and sound (and warm)!
    — Cate

  133. I’m from No. Michigan and that would shift my world view, too. But I’m looking at those boats in the water in Winter and thinking maybe not so bad…

  134. I’m from Maine. I’ve lived in Indianapolis for almost seven years. I still scoff at what passes for a “snow storm” around here. I’m completely on your side with this one.

  135. I am a long time fan, but I have to say that I really did not like this post. Crossed the line from witty sarcasm to open mocking, and thus lost the humor for me completely. Seems unlike you. I guess I’ll chalk it up to the fact that you really wanted to get home. Sigh.

  136. I’m from NH. We visited Seattle in early December and all they could talk about was the Thanksgiving storm. People are a little sensitive about their weather, eh?

  137. I am a native PNW transplanted to Pennsylvania. It was a perspective shift to see it snow and then have clear dry roads the next day (aided by the mostly dry winter air – PNW gets *wet* winter air.) When we left Oregon/Washington a few years back, it was ILLEGAL to use salt on the roads. They used cinders. Therefore the wet snow we usually got did NOT dry, but froze that night and the resulting curling rink the next day was what really got us.

  138. I may be no Canadian [:(] but I am from Wisconsin with a winter testing whether or not I truly want to move North. That’s how much I love knitting, wool, etc., I actually want to move North for the knitting season.
    I briefly spent sometime in Seattle, starting in the middle of January, and was a wonderfully surprised when late February came around, and I thought winter was over. But when you’re from a place equipped for snow and you’re somewhere that grinds to a halt over ~1 inch (2.14 cm) of snow, that’s frustrating. Beware of the inexperienced.
    It’s still very much winter here in WI, and it may not let up until April. I have seen the odd blizzard in May, but that still doesn’t prevent a Wisconsinite from going on with the wedding!

  139. I had a chuckle, as I’m reading this post in St. John’s NL with a wicked wind howling outside (gusts forcast to 100+ km.), pouring rain (yes rain!) and a quick freeze predicted for tonight. All this with a scenic backdrop of huge snowbanks. And yes, l fully intend to leave the house today, not once, but twice. In a car! Having said that, it is a great city in which to curl up and knit.

  140. Here’s a shoutout from Rochester, NY, just across the puddle from Toronto. We had 11 inches yesterday. We shoveled. We went places. I know how you feel. But people who are not used to these things really do pose a danger. I was in San Diego one day when it rained. I was terrified, because they don’t SLOW DOWN. Honest, people died. I always find I get places faster in bad weather by slowing down. Go figure.

  141. Geography lessons are so much more fun this way than out of books in grammar school! We ALL know about the rain in Washington State, but who knew what a few degree days could do to it? Really, black ice can be the most dangerous because you can’t see it happening. You naturally zone out while driving after you’ve been doing it more than 6 months (remember the white knuckle driving when you first learned and how mentally and physically exhausted you were when you got to where you were going!) At least with snow, it’s white and screams at you to pay attention. I have to admit that water over solid ice sounds like the work of the devil to me.

  142. I’m from Minnesota…cold, snow and ice are what we drive on for 6 months. Imagine my horror, when 2 years ago we flew into Atlanta Georgia, and there were 4 inches of snow on the ground and we had to drive to Pensacola!! Here that would have meant nothing…not even a late start to school. There? Well..it was amazing to say the least. I’m not sure I ever did shift my view point. I’m glad my husband was driving!

  143. We live in north/central New York, east of the great lakes. It’s been snowing here on a daily basis since the beginning of December. 20F is a heat wave here. It’s part of the culture to brag on how much snow we get in a year (not a winter season). Apparently it’s something to do with the size of the snow plow blades. If we didn’t have the road equipment, we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. I’ve got a lot of knitting done but even being able to get around in adverse conditions doesn’t do much for the “cabin fever”.

  144. LOL – I was beginning to think you’d been to England! The snow comes as a massive surprise and oh the cold… I’ve never experienced below -6c in this country and that was overnight. I grew up in Scandinavia! 🙂 Not only Canadians find your statements hard to swallow.

  145. I’m a northern girl too. My shift of worldview happened one morning when I called a friend living in his hometown of Durham, NC. He said they had gotten a hefty five inches of snow in the night. I asked if the crews had gotten the street cleared yet. He was sort of confused by the question.
    “It’s 30 degrees. How can the roads be clear?”
    I asked when they thought the roads would be open so he could get to work.
    He spoke slowly, clearly wondering if I’d lost brain cells since we spoke last. “Everybody stays home until it melts.”
    I laughed at him.

  146. It’s amazing the difference just a couple hundred miles makes with the way people deal with snow. I’m originally from Connecticut (and didn’t think we got all that much snow, but knew how to deal with it) and now I live in southern New Jersey (where we get even less). Just 200 miles and the reaction is so different.
    As another poster said earlier, the bread and milk seem to vanish from the store shelves. And what’s even funnier, the top story on the local news the night before a storm will be all about the people in the stores buying up all the food and snow shovels! It’s like they never had snow before and they are preparing for the end of the world. Two weeks later when we have another storm… the same top story! It’s a little like the movie “Groundhog Day”. What I want to know is, what did they all do with the shovels they bought two weeks ago?

  147. A few weeks ago we had over 2 feet of snow (67cm)in as many days. This is quite common here in the Eastern townships in Québec. It was great to watch the snow falling and yes the authorities did recommend to stay indoors!!

  148. Now you know how southern U.S. residents feel when we hear summer news reports from northern climates saying “OMG 30C/86F!! We’re going to die from heat! Check on your elderly neighbors!”, and we look at each other and say, “Actually, I could go for a temperature that cool right now.”

  149. ok, between laughing, giggling, snickering, i do accept that the real danger would have been from the other drivers who just don’t know what they are doing… when in rome, i guess? 🙂

  150. I grew up in Hawaii (where the coldest day of my childhood was 52 degrees F) and now live in Massachusetts. Even after 30+ years here, I am still a bit of a wimp driving in snow and ice. But driving at a reasonable speed coupled with having AWD (love my Subaru)has gotten me through most cold weather driving adventures! However, dealing with the Massholes is a driving challenge in any kind of weather … that would be the daunting combination of speed, stupidity and otherwise moronic behavior that characterizes drivers from my state.
    And please don’t scold the YH for the tone of her post! Having just fought my way home from South Carolina .. got up to Washington, DC but then airports all along the east coast closed due to high winds, several cancelled flights, sitting on the tarmac for 2 hours only to have to go back to the terminal, absolute chaos in the airport (thank you US Air for providing absolutely horrible customer service combined with nasty attitude), standing in several different lines for hours, and then finally giving up & renting a car and driving from Washington, D.C. to Massachusetts (10 hours, baby) I sympathize with the frustration and desire to just.get.home.

  151. I’m from Nebraska, but was visiting in southern California last week. There, the BIG weather headline was Rain. That’s it. It rained.

  152. I have trouble wrapping my brain around an inch of snow shutting down Atlanta for a week. We got 6 inches in 1 night and it only slowed Ohio down a little bit.

  153. I don’t know how those people are able to travel elsewhere in North America, particularly the part that gets snow.
    I went to college with someone from Washington state and she freaked out our first winter because of all the snow. She just wasn’t prepared for it…and that was a very mild winter, actually.
    I live in southern Wisconsin and it’s not unusual for us to get upwards of 12″ of snow at a time…or for the temperature to change 60F within a 24-hour period.

  154. Here in the Eastern Townships of QC, we have had a bumper year for snowfalls (yay for the ski hills, a big part of our local economy!) and winter tires are now a law from Dec. 15 on (in all of QC, not just ’round here). This new law saves many, many lives and much expense, I am sure (saving people who have gone spinning off the snowy, blowy highways…) and makes people more responsible and aware of winter conditions. I have actually heard people grumbling about the new rule and can’t say I understand their point of view. When I visit my family out West, I realize that many people don’t properly equip their cars for winter conditions, and some people only put snow tires on 2 wheels of their cars (so… only half the car will go spinning out of control?) I know that snow in BC is rare; but when it does happen, driving with all-weather tires is bloody dangerous.

  155. I grew up in Ontario, and have lived in four US states (two of which get plenty o’ snow) over the past 30+ years.
    Never has anyone I know here changed their tires for the winter. Snow tires are unheard of. Just fyi.

  156. I completely understand. After 25 years in Minn, I moved to Tennessee for 2 winters. When it snowed – which was maybe a half dozen times each winter, I would not go to work. My reason – just like Tina – it was not my lack of experience, but my terror of being on the same roads with those who had only seen snow a few times in their lives. It was humiliating, but honest! Now 20+ years back in Minn, and snow and ice are the norm. (Isn’t Minn in Canada, anyway?)

  157. When I moved to the Philadelphia in grade 12 I had been driving for 2 years. I learned to drive in Quebec, in the winter, in the dark, in a stick shift. So I had a clue. The first time the PA high school closed down I was asked by adults if I would be willing to drive a couple of other students home. These adults thought it would be safer for me to do it than them, because I had more experience (apparently this was in ancient times before schools cared about liability). There was an inch on the ground and beautiful, big, light, fluffy flakes were falling from the sky. It was my pleasure to drive them home! 🙂

  158. For the record, not all Americans become stupid when there’s weather… just the ones who totally don’t expect there to BE any weather. The rest of us react to them, more than to the weather.

  159. It always amazes me at all the different reactions people have to the snow! I”m in Northern Ohio and we get a fair bit of snow, and my brother who lives in Mid Ohio (columbus) gets much less but even they have much different reactions to lesser amounts of snow thean we do here in Cleveland.

  160. It was -2C here in Montreal last week and it felt like such a relief after all the cold and wind chill!

  161. I’m in Denver and I’m amazed at how much people freak out about snow lately. I’m a Colorado native we’re pretty sure its the influx of Californians and Texans that is causing this. There used to be passing mention of snow in the weather forecasts. Now, if any is expected at all, news stations go into “Weather Alert” mode. When I was little, snow had to be pretty high before they’d call off school. This year, they closed them for 3 days and there was less than 6″. They claimed it was also because it was cold. Yes, 17 below is not normal around here, but throw more layers on the little dears and send them off. The schools have heat. It is crazy.

  162. We like our weather nice and mild, thank you! I live in Edmonds, just a few miles north of Seattle and we prefer our February days to be about 45-50 (F), maybe cloudy but with no wind. Snow is not acceptable. If I wanted nasty weather I would move to some other part of the country.

  163. The reason that snow driving in the Pacific Northwest is dangerous is because of all those Southern Californians who think that four-wheel-drive works on brakes too, and are blown away when they stomp the brake and the car keeps going.
    Also, there are a fair number of lads with overpowered cars on bald tires. The ditches are full of them.
    C’mon – cut us some slack. 😉 A snow day is an unexpected holiday – rare enough to celebrate!

  164. so many people have said it so well – ‘preparedness is everything’. we all cope as best we can with the weather we have become used to.
    may i mention that it was -50 degrees celsius with the windchill here yesterday?
    hooray for wool!

  165. It’s all relative.
    I have lived all over the US- The West, Southwest, Northeast, South and Upper Midwest. At the moment I live in South Texas. Previous to that I lived in Northern Ohio. On the lake. It would snow to kingdom come there and schools never closed. “Oh 20 inches in one day- no problem.” A little thing called lake-effect. Everyone just sucked it up and went on with life.
    Then I moved to South Texas. About two weeks ago it snowed in San Antonio- and iced. A dusting. Barely anything you could call snow– but the whole city shut down. The county shut all highways and yes I refused to drive because I was worrying about some moron in a large truck plowing into my brand new little Honda Civic. So it’s all relative. In Northern Ohio, they do snow well. In south Texas, only a few hours from Mexico– they don’t. It is what it is.

  166. I grew up on the North Shore of Lake Superior. It was cold up there. When I my husband made the trek up to meet my parents for the first time, it was Dec 27 and with the wind chill it was 52 below zero/ -52. Even though I have been in Toronto almost 15 years, I still laugh when “bizzard like conditions” are being reported and there is almost nothing in falling from the sky. When you can’t see the end of the lawn from your window because the falling snow is that heavy, that’s a blizzard.

  167. Very concise description of people knowing snow, ice and cold weather, and people fearing snow, ice and cold weather.
    Sounds like me (not Canadian, but grown up near the Alps of Germany) struggling with the concepts people in these parts (Hessen, one of the lowest and warmest and insofar the least snow-accepting part of Germany) have with slightly bad weather. If somebody mentions there’s snow in the Alps, people here look for their chains and practise stop and go on the highways in sort of random sequences. The result is more often than not a “snow-induced accident”.

  168. Yes, we’re all crazy here, we do whine about -2C, we can’t drive in the snow/ice. Nor can we drive in the rain. Don’t move to Washington state….please. We don’t have snow tires, nor do we carry umbrellas. Come August when the weather is at its most glorious, just remember that we all lose our minds with these fall/winter weather events. You can have your Wisconsin/Minnesota/Michigan/Montana/Indiana winters. Yuck!

  169. Have to laugh about these comments – I was raised in the Adirondacks and never remember having off because of snow (‘course I graduated 53 years ago and maybe the memory isn’t as good but I asked a classmate and she didn’t remember having off, either). I have now lived in northcentral PA for 44 years and it has to be really bad to call off school – they usually call for a 2 hour delay to allow for the roads to be plowed and then they go. Several years ago I invested in an all-wheel drive vehicle and have never had any trouble in snow – ice I avoid like the plague and stay in – we had 2 fatalities yesterday.
    I agree with the posters who have said snow is a good excuse to stay in and knit (like we need a good excuse….) Glad you’re finally getting to come home, Steph and oh, yes, those socks are gorgeous!!!

  170. I was once in Key West when the temperature was expected to drop below 40 (Fahrenheit) one night, and the news anchors in Miami kept saying things like, “Remember to keep your pets indoors this evening.”

  171. I share your difficulty in making the “shift.” I’m from Wisconsin. I don’t understand either. Except for the fact that those people are NOT PREPARED. They don’t have snowplows and sanding/salting trucks. They don’t have snowtires. They don’t have experience. And, they are wimps.

  172. I’m so glad you took Tina’s word, even though it required a shift in your worldview, because she is soooo right about that area and snow and not equipped.
    One afternoon in Seattle I boarded a bus around 3:00 pm in downtown Seattle to go to my home in Issaquah. It had started snowing a couple of hours earlier. People were panicked! I’m from Idaho, snow doesn’t disturb me much. But I arrived home at 2:30 in the morning! And I was lucky to arrive.

  173. Well, in Michigan, where I am, that looks like a nice spring day. The sun is out, after all. We’ve got 10 or so inches of snow right now, and some ice. It’s about 16F. It is snowing. I’m going shopping.
    Yep, it is a shift in point of view. You are making me laugh again Stephanie. Thank you!

  174. Well, I have to say that I don’t know about snow, having grown up in Texas and now residing in Arizona. (I keep thinking you should visit us here in Phoenix, by the way. We joke that you know it’s Christmas here by the changing colors of the trees.) Here, however, the freakout is over rain. Suddenly no one knows how to drive in the rain. If there’s a storm, then the weatherman is taking over the TV during your VERY suspenseful-can’t-miss-a-second-or-I-might-miss-a-look-that-sets-up-the-plot-of-the-rest-of-the-entire-thing show (granted, he tried to do it during the commercials, the dear, but ALWAYS ran over the time) to tell you that, wait for it… IT’S RAINING AND WE WILL KEEP YOU INFORMED OF EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW. Some show. Catch up. IT’S RAINING. (No crap, Sherlock.) IT’S STILL RAINING. BE CAREFUL.
    Anyway. Like I said, I’m originally from Texas, in the wet, pretty, Eastern area. Still don’t know about snow, but dude. I know that rain is not the Apocalypse. Just reading your post makes me feel better about snow. Maybe I won’t be so freaked out next time we have to drive through a snow storm. ^_^

  175. *snort* Muggles!
    Driving in LOTs of snow is actual more fun than anything else, cause what can really happen? The worst is a gentle thwup into a snow drift.
    Now if only the people who really aren’t able to drive in winter weather would plain stay home! But nooooo, they have to crawl over the roads at a snail’s pace when passing is not really a good idea.

  176. I got home Monday night, after two weeks of picking up and delivering trucks all over Washington and Oregon. After seeing the traffic jams that occur in the Seattle/Tacoma area, I definitely do NOT want to be driving there when there is ice and snow on the roads. Inexperienced winter drivers plus no traction tires makes for a scary time and folks are well advised to stay off the roads. The storm that hit Seattle hit us here Thursday night and we had to go pick up trucks in the storm. We managed with no problems and yesterday delivered those trucks to Utah, again with no problems but we are used to snow and ice and have traction tires.

  177. Wait. What?
    The high yesterday in smalltown Saskatchewan? -24. The windchill hasn’t gotten above -35 all week. I drove about 500 km for work in the last two days!

  178. When it reached 29 F. last week, we started taking off our coats. Hooray! It wasn’t 4 degrees F. anymore!

  179. We were in Portland at the same time, and you would have thought it was snowmaggedon. The local morning shows pre-empted the national shows (almost unheard of) with wall-to-wall snow emergency coverage, the Portland public schools were closed, and on and on. There were areas that saw 5″ or so, but it was really nothing in Portland proper. Very changeable, though – we had snow, sun, rain and hail all in about an hour’s time.

  180. As someone living on Southern Vancouver Island, I’m with Tina.
    I cut my driving teeth on the snowy roads and icy hills of Alberta. Heck, I ate snowstorms for breakfast. But snow on the Coast is a different beastie and I refuse to drive in it (and I have All-Wheel Drive). Seriously. It’s not just the inexperience or lack of equipment or sand or salt or whatever. It gets icy really quickly … maybe because of the lack of snowplows and sanders, etc. But black ice is black ice.
    I’ve driven back from Seattle to the border twice in snow (not blizzards, just snow) and I thought we were going to die. I had to pry my fingers off the steering wheel one by one once we got to the ferry terminal. The number of cars and trucks in the ditch was astounding. I’d never seen anything like in in my years living in Alberta or Saskatchewan.
    Be very afraid of West Coast snow. It’s a fearsome beastie.
    Glad you are safe.

  181. I can relate to what Rebecca @11:20 am said, The snow here is different. I think it has something to do with the normal level of humidity in the region. We get a lot of black ice. The other phenomonen we have to deal with though, (and here is where I empathize with those folks in Ludlow putting on their chains), is that our snow comes in bands. I live 20 miles south of Port Ludlow, and I can tell you that the roads, ice, and snow can go back and forth from benign to treacherous several times in that 20 miles. Now, good snow tires and 4 wheel drive can make all the difference too, but not everyone has those. There’s a lot of road between Seattle and Port Ludlow, and trust me, some of it was ugly. Tina was right.

  182. OK, I admit it, I laughed about the chains on tires for 1 cm of snow! (I live in Maine, so I think that allows me to think that’s sort of funny, right?) 🙂
    Of course, you see at least 1 4-wheel-drive vehicle in a large percentage of the driveways up here, so we’re used to a good bit of snow up here. Still, that doesn’t stop the occasional moron from thinking that just because he has 4WD he can still zip down the road at 70mph even if it is a bit slippery… Then you spot him again a few miles down the road completely BURIED in the snowbank! No matter where you are, there will always be at least a few idiots on the road who don’t stop to think that it might be wise to slow down just a bit!

  183. @clockworktomato and other Southern Writers: Let’s see if the shoe fits the other foot. Would many of our Northern neighbors survive 30+ days of 90 degree days (and nights)without suffering heat exhaustion, sunburn, thrush, or gauds? Do Northerners even know what gauds are?
    I can drive in snow. My dad took me out at 14 to drive in an empty factory parking lot because who knew when it would snow again when he could show me the ropes? That was 40 years ago adn it has served me well!

  184. It would seem surreal to me, too.
    I remember once I shoveled our street, from driveway behind the house to a plowed street, about 4″/10cm deep. I had to get to work.
    Reality is relative, it seems.

  185. I grew up in Central Washington, lived in Seattle area, Lived for years in Germany, then the East Coast, Now in South east Texas. Them main reason for dreadinf the snow and rain is people donot have the knowledge of driving in bad weather. They depend on their brakes to often. 4 wheels is not the answer. Slow down and gear down.
    Stay home and KNIT!

  186. We, here on the East side of the same state get snow much more often, have a full force of plows and sanders, put on our snow tires (some with studs) as soon as legal (and leave on as long as legal) and were still shocked by the snow this week- at my house I had a MINIMUM of 16 inches of snow to shovel (couldn’t get the snow blower to start, with husband out of town… sigh). This when the prediction was 1-4 inches.
    I was in Seattle once when it snowed (and then iced) and was glad the people are so cautious. The area doesn’t seem to have the equipment, people forget how to drive in it- then add the thin layers of ice that seems to be part of the coast, well, I’ll stick with dealing with drifts of snow higher than my jeep, thank you very much.
    It is COLD here this morning- my thermometer says 0.9*F.

  187. Just returned from Houston, Texas 2 weeks ago where schools and highways were closed, “in case it might snow!” It never did, but my holiday time was impaired. The temperature had “plummeted” to 0’C.

  188. *snicker* Actually, many years ago, when I was in high school, I got to play tour guide for some exchange students from Germany. They had spoken to other exchange students about ‘the weather in America’ – exchange students who had spent a year in Chicago. They arrived, here, in March, in 80F weather wearing sweaters and wool coats. They spent the first month in weather shock, sweating and talking (very sincerely) about the “tropical climate” and how “unhealthy it was”. They stuck it out all summer. That year we had a lot of 106F days (41 point something for you Celcius people).

  189. I’m a lover of winter and I drive in it (most of the time) although in VT the worry is often this: Yes, I can get to work, but will I be able to get home?
    I have friends in TX (Dallas) and once I complained about the horrible heat and how I had to stay indoors and couldn’t get out and do anything. My friend said “What happens to you when you get whalloped with snow?” “For the worst of it, we stay indoors.” “See?”, she said, “You get cabin fever in the winter and in Texas we get cabin fever in the summer.”
    Perspective is everything.

  190. In Cambridge (UK) we had, oh, an inch, maybe 2? of snow in November/December at the end of last year. This was enough to cause transport snarl ups all over (much of the UK had a lot of snow, and a lot worse problems, we really had very little); I think mostly people who get to drive in snow 3 days a year know sod all about how to do it, so they end up driving into someone’s house and then, well, that’s bad. (Me, I get to cycle in snow three days a year and THIS YEAR I didn’t fall off even ONCE; yay, go me)
    Snow-on-ice is something that I thought you didn’t get so much in really properly cold places (because it doesn’t get to melt). It’s really hard to deal with if you face it only rarely though.
    -2 though, is not “OMG PANIC” cold. Even here. Where it doesn’t get that cold that often. I’m not really processing that one very well.

  191. As someone that lived in Seattle for 21 years, everything she told you was right from a Seattle point of view. I’m from and now live again in Chicago and am very used to actual blizzards – a bit of snow and no problems. In Seattle, snow falls at sea level very infrequently and the folks there just don’t know how to cope. No salt trucks, no real winter gear – lots of very steep hills that are bad with just a bit of snow. They actually close them and the neighborhoods go sledding – it’s a blast. A few years ago when we got 5-7 inches of snow – hundreds of cars were abandoned on I-5 because no one knew how to drive through the snow to get home. It closed the city down for two days. 5-7 inches here in Chicago means your kids may (and I stress may) start school at 10am in order to give the plows time to clear the roads for buses -so the kids make a snowman and then head off to class. So, as I have seen things from both sides now, I just smile to myself and play the part of the concerned Seattlite for all my friends out there because they do live in fear of the ice and snow and I just plow through the stuff with my Chicago friends or I’d be stuck in the house for about 4-5 months a year. Honestly it’s a nice surprise and nice break for the folks in Seattle, kids don’t know what snow days are and it lets them have a bit of fun.
    Hope you make it home safely – I’m completely jealous that you were in Seattle. I love it so!

  192. erm….another Vancouverite here. I too feel the need to chime in and defend our panicky ways. One time (once) in recent years we had a snowfall when the temp was well below zero and the snow was completely alien to me. Dry… bouncy…. gritty… and in a flash I realized why other Canadians mock us on snow days – this is what you think of when you hear “snow.”
    However, our rare snow days almost always occur when it’s 0 or 1 above. The stuff that falls out of our sky, then, is basically insta-slush. Wet, heavy and about as easy to drive/walk in as a gloppy layer of oatmeal – that you’ve dumped a good glug of olive oil into. Once it hits the ground it freezes and that’s that. Plus it’s really hilly here. I’ve seen totally crammed buses lose it and skid out across three lanes of traffic and then slide downhill in slowmo to the horror of all involved.
    Anyway, the key is to stay safe and hey, if you’re too scared to drive in it, please do stay off the road 😉 Happy winter everyone!

  193. I lived for a year just north of Seattle. Coming from Michigan, where things only shut down if you’ve got about four to five feet of snow, I had to laugh hysterically when WA got half an inch and EVERYTHING closed down. Everything. I totally get what you’re saying, because they’re just not not not used to real snow!

  194. I live in Minne-SNOW-ta! Last Saturday I drove my 14 year old to his friends house – five miles away – in the midst of a snowstorm that dropped twenty inches in 24 hours. I put the Jeep in 4WD. No problem.

  195. It’s so fun to hear how other people/places deal with different aspects of the seasons.
    That sounds like a gorgeous day to this Michigander as well and I will admit to more than a little chuckle over “the horror” of the snow/ice. 😀
    Thanks again for the grin, Steph!

  196. I come from Montreal. Once when I was in Toronto, 30ish years ago, the bus driver was shocked that we were out in the storm – to us it was just a little snow. I now live in Finland and I don’t know about other parts of Finland but my son’s school was never closed because of the weather. And I’ve never heard of any being closed because of the snow. I only have a bike and use it throughout the year to do my shopping. If I hear of warnings for drivers then I know it must be quite bad out so I don’t go to the store!

  197. I loved your post! I’ve lived in Seattle for over 30 years after growing up in Michigan. I never really got used to driving in snow in Michigan, however.
    About 3 months ago we had some snow, maybe a couple inches. Seattle had started to use salt for the first time–they used to use only sand. They salted all day long, and it started snowing early in the day. For some reason the kind of salt they used made the snow melt, then freeze up again, making ICE. The result was commutes that normally take a half hour lasting up to 9 hours (I am not making this up! A couple of my co-workers left work at 5 and arrived home at 2 am.)
    It’s really great to hear how the rest of the world sees something that we think is a big deal here!

  198. I live in St. Louis, and the 1/4-inch of snow we had over Thursday night closed a bunch of schools on Friday. My husband and I bot just shook our heads, because we both remember walking over a half-mile to the bus stop (beside open fields) with at least six inches of snow and two inches of ice. (Uphill! Both ways! No really.)
    Of course the stealth ice storm we had last Wednesday night closed at least four major highways with accidents, including one with 26 cars bad enough to be featured on weather.com’s videos. It really is the other drivers you have to worry about.

  199. When I was growing up in northern PA school was never shut down unless there was an ice storm…I used to laugh and laugh when living in NC they shut everything down if snow even stayed on the gound no matter what the depth. Now I live in Maine I do think sometimes the schools here are bit overly cautious but when we have a snowstorm it is a real snowstorm.

  200. But, but… I see green grass.
    I guess if you don’t see snow often, it can be alarming but ’round here kids still take their driving tests over and around the hills, rivers, and non-plowed side streets during a 6 inch snowfall. So my perspective may be a bit off.

  201. I’m with Adele too…. when a transit bus is sliding downhill (sideways) towards you and your car in only a couple of cms of wet Vancouver snow it really gets your heart racing. We do live in fear of the white stuff… unless it’s on the ski hills! 🙂

  202. Now, be honest, Brandi. You lived here. You know we don’t shut down for snow on the ground. We shut down as soon as we hear there MIGHT be snow on the ground. 🙂

  203. Hi Stephanie,
    As someone who lives in the Vancouver, BC area but has lived in other parts of Canada, I get a kick out of SNOWFALL WARNINGS like these and thought you might too:
    “Environment Canada’s Official Weather Warnings
    Metro Vancouver
    4:46 AM PST Saturday 26 February 2011
    Snowfall warning for
    Metro Vancouver continued
    Snowfall accumulations of 5 cm for Central Coast – coastal sections and North Vancouver Island this morning.
    Snowfall accumulations of 5 to 15 cm for metro Vancouver by Sunday morning.
    Snowfall accumulations of 10 to 20 cm for Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, and Central Coast – inland sections by Sunday morning.
    This is a warning that significant snowfall is expected or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..Listen for updated statements.”
    Wish us luck!

  204. As a Michigander, I hear ya. But when I lived in Japan and then later in Northern California many of the homes had no form of central heating. So 28 degrees (F) was indeed a time to check the elderly neighbors.

  205. I experienced the same sort of worldview shift when moving from Portland to California, where for some reason people lose their ability to drive whenever WATER falls from the sky. Bizarre.

  206. Stephanie, Stephanie.
    If you’d been in Victoria that day you would have seen the same thing. The other thing that Easterners don’t understand, besides the lack of equipment and the prevalence of hills is that the snow is only 1-2 degrees away from being water. It is wet and slushy. In the East, like TO, you can *sweep* the snow away. Here in Canada’s banana belt and the PNW of the States snow falls as slush. It’s heavy and compacts to ice very easily. I lived in TO and drove in the snow and this stuff is much different.

  207. My hubby and I lived on Vancouver Island for twelve years, and when it snowed, no one could go anywhere. There are no flat roads, (or flat driveways either,) on the island, there are hills everywhere. Some are huge, and some are just little dips and rises. No matter, you are stuck at home when it snows, because if you attempt driving, you will just sit there with your wheels spinning. Also, the snow is usually heavy and wet, and no salt is used, just sand. Coming from Ontario, where we just dump salt all over the roads and get on with our day, this was a bit of a shock. Cars last a lot longer out there though–no salt to eat away at the metal.

  208. LOL!!!!! I can understand your views. My brother in law moved to Seattle after living in upstate NY for 33 years (as for where in upstate NY, if i look out my craft room windows we can see the entrance to the Adirondack Park) and heard stories of them shutting the city down for an inch of snow!

  209. SE Virginia where we close at the whisper of snow in the forecast (okay, maybe it has to be a little more than that but not much…)
    With one of the world’s highest military populations, we have folks from across the US. Those from the Snowbelt are so condescending when an inch of snow shuts us down. “Why, back home, this wouldn’t even count…”
    But, I have seen more than one big 4WD SUV do a donut (unplanned) on an unplowed street because they have 4WD (and therefore, can drive faster). Of course, the whole trick is knowing how to STOP in ice and snow!!!
    And we did NOT have snow in this area (and only one ice storm) in nearly 10 years…because my son had his last snow day in elementary school…and his next one in his senior year of high school!
    Yesterday, it was 70F (though windy) and the daffodils are blooming. How much more snow will you have in the Snowbelt?

  210. I live in Portland, OR, and I think what is hardest for me to adjust to when we have snow storms is the rants from everyone about how this isn’t a storm, and what would Alaska or Canada do, etc. I think that we could deal with snow and ice just fine if we maintained a fleet of equipment to be able to respond to snow quickly. Most of my family lives in Minnesota, and cities have a huge fleet of equipment to respond to snow and ice quickly. People in Minnesota drive on snowy or icy roads all the time, but they rarely have to do it on roads that have not been sanded, salted, or plowed. And the biggest thing is, do all of us in the Pacific Northwest want to *pay* for that giant fleet of equipment, the crews, the maintenance of the equipment, and the materials?? Or do we want to just stay home when, once or twice a year, we get a big storm? I don’t think it’s so much that we’re incapable of dealing with it, but it doesn’t make sense to do what it would take to deal with it (at the metro level) for the frequency of storms.

  211. I did not read most of the comments, but I know I can top each and every story of wimphood(?)/ wimpdom(?).
    A few weeks ago my cousin was bitterly complaining of the cold. When I made fun of her she told that the weather had really changed in Puerto Rico and it was getting very cold. I kind of believed her but just to be sure I checked the temperature via the internet. The result: 80 degrees Farenheit (26/27 C?).
    I know, she almost froze to death.

  212. Imagine moving from the East Coast of the US to Southern California, where I currently live. People put on their parkas when the temperature drops below 60 degrees F. (since I am from the US I can’t possibly be expected to know the Celsius conversion… 🙂 ) We’ve had a recent cold snap – it got down to the upper 30s last night and we were warned there might be snow at unreasonably low levels (as there was in parts of San Francisco). Despite my pedigree, I confess that after seven years of living here, I have spent the entire winter wrapped in my felted Baby Alpaca Grande wrap. If I hadn’t lost my felted Baby Alpaca Grande mittens last week, I’d be wearing them too!

  213. As someone who lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on one of those downtown hills (and who wrote off a car this year in a real snowstorm), I don’t think I can get there at all.

  214. As a resident of Vermont, I am very familiar with snow. Yesterday, we got about a foot of it — the wet stuff that packs easily and turns into ice. I still went to work, 35 miles away, but I did leave 45 minutes early at the end of the day, as I anticipated that the 3-mile long hill of switchbacks and deep ditches that I live on would not be plowed yet.
    Even here there are idiots who can’t drive in winter weather, so I probably would have stayed off those roads too.
    Glad you’re back! Now you get more real winter too! I’m sure you missed it! 😉

  215. I grew-up in San Antonio Texas which shuts down and goes no functional with a little snow or ice. Of course I now live in Kansas and understand your feelings. I don’t have to deal with as much snow or ice as you, but we’ve had weeks where 28F -2C wasn’t even the high. I don’t enjoy this. My winter wardrobe is still under equipt, but I’m knitting more. Hope you have arrived home tired but in one piece and that the house isn’t too messy.

  216. I so hear you; we used to live in New Hampshire, but here in California, you don’t even want to be on the road when it’s raining because people just have no clue. They were predicting possible snow for today for the first time in 35 years! (Don’t see any, though).

  217. I grew up in WA State (both sides) and was in Seattle for Snowmageddon 2008. Our street was not plowed for two weeks. The city did not use salt on the roads (to protect the environment) and did not have enough snow plows. Oh, and the snow plows had rubber blades so that the streets would not get damaged. I saw an SUV with four wheel drive slide sidways down a hill and smash into a mailbox–which was the perfect height to smash his side window. I walked to get groceries and the shelves were bare because the trucks couldn’t make it over the mountain passes. The mayor later got voted out of office because of the way the city dealt with the snow.
    I am now in No. Cal and so glad to be away from Seattle on snowy days.

  218. Really enjoyed reading your piece.
    I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. We have lived in Richmond, VA for 25 yrs. I still am tickled when the RUMOR of snow comes across the airwaves and the little tykes are shuttled home just as quickly as the school system can get them there or if it is early enough, they get a free day. Of course, everyone makes a run to the grocery store…we even have a nickname for it…Making a French Toast Run…cuz everybody buys milk, eggs and bread! Fortunately the warnings usually don’t pan out to much. I will say that VDOT’s response to actual precipitation has improved greatly in the last 25yrs. It’s hard on the parents who still have to go to work even though the kids have the day off.
    Just go with the flo’ Steph!
    Lovely socks!!

  219. Uh, did you forget that us “left Coasters” are actually still Canadians when you said
    “If you are from Canada and you wake up in the morning and see that there is some ice, and about an inch of snow-“. We too can be pretty squeamish about the snow/ice thing but we are still Canadian. That is like me saying that “Here in Canada our daffodils and cherry trees bloom in March” (Gotta go check to see if the peas are up yet:) Nice socks!

  220. I grew up in that part of the world, but have lived all over, including places that get quite a bit of snow, like Colorado. The Northwest is terrible about coping with snow, they are just not prepared. We now live in London, and believe it or not, a little snow will shut down the whole transit system here. Neighborhood roads don’t get cleared, people panic, the airports shut down causing no end of difficulty.

  221. I’ve lived most of my life in Wisconsin. We have a little thing called Winter every year, sometimes worse (in various ways) than others, but always Winter and we know what to do; not only that, we’ve built our homes, etc., with Winter in mind. I was amazed, when I lived in Oregon — a place that does not have Winter (as I know it) — to learn that, among other things, people ran water lines OUTSIDE the house! When it was a “frigid” 12F and pipes were bursting everywhere, it was a pretty big deal!

  222. As I read your post (here in SE Michigan), I started giggling, then laughing out loud. I was driving in 12 inches of snow the other day…without chains. What was I thinking?!?

  223. Yup, that would be the PNW:
    a little wet snow + hills + unusual cold = paralysis
    Having lived in states where driving in blizzard-like conditions is de rigeur, it remains a shock to see what happens here when it snows.
    I hope you finally got home. 🙂

  224. I totally understand the “no plows, no sanders” part of Stephanie’s report.
    Here in New England we have the equipment, but sometimes, the plows and sanders work AFTER the storm creating dangerous situations on the road.
    It’s all a matter of when the “rubber meets the road” in mitigating snow/ice.

  225. OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!! I lived in Alaska and that would not even be a day off!! I went to school in -20 degrees each and every winter and lots of snow was an opportunity to build snow forts, mount snowball wars, ski, sled and make snow angels. Life did not stop nor did the airplanes from Elmandorf AFB!!!

  226. Holy cow. I think I need to move there. Because then I wouldn’t have had to drive to work in eight inches of snow this past week. (Welcome to Michigan.) I totally understand what you mean. I went to an event in chicago a few years back and one of the organizers (who was from the south) was stressing that attendance would be down because it was snowing and cold. I looked at her and said, “If we waited for the weather to be nice in these states, we’d only leave the house two or three weeks out of the year.”
    Although I do admit I am so done with this winter. I can deal with more cold but the huge buckets have snow have worn out their welcome.

  227. OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!! I lived in Alaska and that would not even be a day off!! I went to school in -20 degrees each and every winter and lots of snow was an opportunity to build snow forts, mount snowball wars, ski, sled and make snow angels. Life did not stop nor did the airplanes from Elmandorf AFB!!!
    Too many of us have become whipped wimps who weep at the very thought of a little adversity, difficulty or pain. We shrink at the hint of travail, blanch at obsticles small or smaller and hesitate at a fork in the road.
    We have become STUPID!

  228. Well. Here in the infamous “northern Minnesota woods” I’m having a fleece-clad, warm socks, stay-at-home, tax-prep Saturday. For grown son, DH and his lovely wife (that would be me) and sundry other friends and relatives. And drinking my usual icewater. Go figure!
    Still 18 inches of snow on the ground, although not on driveway or roads, but lots of sunshine. And in late February that means a bit of melting, at least. Can DS time be far away?? Driving – to school and shopping, etc. (min.28 miles)- no problem as long as roads stay clear. Of course it was -32F (-35C) on the porch this morning, and hasn’t got back to zero yet. Fireplace gently supplementing the in-floor heat.
    Grew up in a Chicago household where “put on another sweater!” was the call to arms. And fun – especially if the sweater was hand-knit! 🙂
    I’ll reward myself with at least a few hours of knitting tonight. Just wish they would stop showing reruns of “Antique Roadshow” on Saturday evenings.
    Worst problem of the past few days – all out of dark chocolate.

  229. I hear you. I moved from the Chicago area to Texas, where my students do not show up to their college classes when it rains. RAINS. Or even when there is the forecast of rain. Because they think it is unsafe to drive.

  230. I live in mammoth lakes, ca where we just got about 4′ of snow on the top of our mountain. I am on crutches with a broken foot and I cleared a foot of snow off my car yesterday with the use of my arm and one of my crutches, then I plowed with a 1.5′ berm to get out of my parking space. It is nothing here though, I used to work in Antarctica. When I got a job here in Mammoth, one of the nurses said, “Now we have really harsh winters, will you be able to handle it.” With memories of -88F weather, I smiled and said, “I think so.”

  231. Those of us that live in Utah are commiserating with you. Not going anywhere in snow would mean, well, not going anywhere for a lot of the winter.

  232. Shifting the other direction is really hard, too. When you don’t get cold, don’t get snow, and you visit someone who thinks going out and driving in snow and ice is not only okay but *normal*, it’s, um, frightening. I’m conditioned to think that snow and ice and driving = crashbang. We have, as you said, no sand trucks, no plows, big hills, and idiots on the road.
    My husband is from Denver, where it snows. I’m from western Oregon, where it doesn’t. We live in Tacoma, where it doesn’t. We’ve both had to adjust, and it’s been weird.
    (But, I agree, the chains were seriously overdoing it.)

  233. Hahahahahahahaha!
    You ought to see what a little snow and ice does to DALLAS!!! Oh, you may actually have seen it NEARLY SHUT DOWN THE SUPERBOWL!!!! Three inches of snow alone will shut down the city till it melts! (usually the next day) 🙂

  234. Oh, and for the person who’s been in the PNW for 7 years: I grew up in this climate. I’ve seen more snow in the last 7 years than in the previous 30. The climate here is shifting, and people and governments learn slowly (esp. when governments have to think about spending a lot of money on snow equipment and then on storing it, when *it didn’t use to be this way*).

  235. Hey-I resemble that remark! Here in Victoria we got 20cm of snow in a few hours on Wednesday morning. It’s Saturday and streets and sidewalks are still covered in ice, despite no new snowfall. Plows can’t get streets dry, and it turns to ice overnight. People don’t have snowshovels, and despite a bylaw that requires people to clear their sidewalks, it doesn’t happen and anywhere that wasn’t cleared is now covered in ice. So we hunker down and stay home until the rain comes in a few days and clears it all away. And we’re just as Canadian as you are!

  236. You know, I was once like you. I grew up in the “Tip of the Mitt”, otherwise known as the northernmost part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, very near that great big bridge that carries you to the upper peninsula. Temperatures many degrees below freezing, several FEET of snow accumulation, weekly snow storms and solid ice everywhere from November until May were the norm. All cars, everywhere, were leprous with rust from all the salt applied to the roads, and if you could find the road, you could drive on it. I lived there for the first 25 years of my life.
    Then I moved. Now I live in the Portland, Oregon area, and the thing is . . . I’ve been assimilated. I once drove four hours through a blizzard with visibility of about four feet in front of my vehicle, navigating by the ruts through the accumulated snow. Now I don’t drive if it’s snowing, especially if it’s dark. And if there’s ice? Forget it. I will barely step out my front door.
    I don’t know how it happened, but in the decade I’ve lived here I have lost all tolerance for true cold and all of my nerve for driving in inclement weather. Clearly, I can never return to the midwest.
    Not that I’m complaining.

  237. I live in Southern New Mexico, in an area where it very rarely snows. Our schools were shut down for three days a few weeks ago, thanks to what was — for us — record cold and snow. As a school employee, I had the great good fortune not to have to take my life in my hands by getting out on the road with all my don’t-know-how-to-drive-in-this brethren. And I’m pretty darned glad about that!

  238. Your observations are humorous and even accurate. But not ALL of the Pacific NW is like that. Only the west side of it. I am a life long Oregonian and grew up in a little town called The Dalles. It’s on the Columbia Gorge. It snows there way more than the Willamette valley, Portland, coast, Seattle. It snows even more in eastern and central Oregon and so in those areas people are a it hardier about the snow. We went to school in the snow—though bad ice could cancel school–but the town is full of steep hills– roads were plowed (though not as impressively as in Wisconsin where my dad is from). I had lots of snow driving practice growing up. I now live in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. I drove on 3 inches of packed snow on Thursday—no road maintenance so other cars had packed it down. This made it very slick, I had no snow tires and drive a civic. Made it fine, felt confident about the driving, but was very wary of everyone else. Since roads are not maintained during snow here and I have to worry about how the other guy drives I chose to cancel a visit to Portland that day. But I got around here just fine. I found out later that Interstate 5 had been closed that AM due to the weather and an accident.

  239. Reminds me of the year this guy built his house on the flood plain of a nearby river. We asked him if he owned a boat. When we told himwhy he would need one, he laughed and said he had that all worked out.
    The spring thaw came so did the flood. About a foot of water washed through the house.
    And he still didn’t have a boat.
    Shortly after getting the basement pumped out, his wife left him and he torched the place. It was a favorite hangout for making out in the dry season. The burned remains are probably still there after (oh God,now I have to count) 36 years!

  240. I lived in Alaska for 11 years….if we couldn’t do things with snow and ice, we would have stayed indoors for 9 months every year! Yikes! Enjoy the snow and ice in Toronto once you get back!

  241. i’m laughing because i live in vermont, where we know a thing or two about ice and snow, too. i raised my kids in vermont. my oldest son moved to seattle ten years ago. several times he has been The Neighborhood Hero for “daring” to drive people to the grocery store and doctor’s appointments in a couple of inches of snow. the first winter he lived there, he was the only person who showed up for work one “snowy” day. he couldn’t figure out where everybody was … and they couldn’t figure out what possessed him to drive to work.

  242. It’s geography Steph. West of the Cascades here in Washington is a different animal. Eastern Washington, like most of the other places where folks say a lot of snow is no big deal, is fairly dry and flat. Western Washington, on the other hand, because of Puget Sound, has a lot of steep hills, and our snow, due to our proximity to the rain forest, is quite wet and slushy, turning to ice very quickly. I don’t care what kind of vehicle you have, it isn’t going to do any good on an icy 9% grade!
    I live out on the Olympic Peninsula where the road conditions are even worse right now. There’s lots of folks out here that have lived in places like Toronto and Alberta where the snow doesn’t shut life down, and even THEY stay off the roads HERE when they get icy! But then, we’re also the kind of folks who carry chains almost year round, as well as chain saws for the inevitable tree fallen across the road 🙂

  243. Yes, me again. After reading all the comments now (whew!), I realized at least part of why people are laughing about the reaction to the cold temperatures.
    A.) Melting is what makes this end. Below freezing = no melting = doesn’t end.
    B.) Cars frequently go smashing into power poles in this weather. So do trees. *Frequently.* Guess what? No more indoor heat.
    And yes, you saw us at our first “snow event” after the one that really, really freaked the region out. My husband, the Denver native, took nearly an hour on his five-minute commute home that time, and when he did, he said it was the worst conditions he’d ever driven in, and he’d been genuinely scared.
    Now, I dare just about any of you (except the Norwegians) to deal with not seeing the sun for six months without going batsh*t crazy. 😉

  244. i love in colorado, just south of denver, where it does snow, but the snow doesn’t stick around for any length of time- we’re just too sunny for it to last. a couple of weeks ago, it was very very cold- about -25 degrees F at night with a really nasty windchill, but no snow. THEY CLOSED SCHOOL FOR TWO DAYS. really? once the cars got started, it was fine. and there was no snow. i understand your problem- my alabama relatives had snow this year and actually called me to find out what to do. i believe i told them “don’t panic”. sound advice for any weather-related driving, i find.

  245. Someone told me yesterday that, in the US southwest, if the sky is cloudy, people feel the need to start crashing their cars into each other, nevermind anything as Seriously Scary as ice or snow…..
    — Vicki, from Ann Arbor, where the weather isn’t all that different from Toronto…..

  246. The scary drivers are the ones who have “experience” and drive like maniacs. Bet they’ve all crashed their cars in the cities they migrated from. Steph, please don’t miss a chance to put anything American down.

  247. Thank you. I live in Portland, OR but migrated from Iowa several years ago. Two Christmas’s ago it snowed 8 inches and shut the city down for a week. Portland does not have the equipment to deal with snow in much of any amount. Because it rarely snows no one knows how to drive and the roads get crazy. Several cars go stuck and I saw quite a few cars jump the curb right by my apartment. It was cool for a couple of days but, after a while, I would have given anything for a salt/sand truck and a plow with a real driver. People here do not understand that nothing shuts down in Iowa in the winter. That being said, it was pretty cool to see kids having snowball fights and parents dragging their kids around on sleds in the middle of the street. Having no traffic had its advantages.

  248. Chiming in from Fargo, ND, where we’ve had enough snow this winter to come close to records: Fargo has not missed any days of school for weather reasons.
    We are, however, allowing groups of older students to officially check out of school to fill sandbags for our upcoming flood season.
    Oh…and it was -18 (F) here last night.

  249. Growing up in Arizona, going to school in Southern California and then moving to Oregon, I have to admit I’m weather stupid. And I have zero experience driving on anything slicker than rain so I stay off the roads even for a little snow. I don’t need to take anyone out. I think that is really why people get so excited here in the PNW. We get maybe a week total of snow or ice and it just isn’t enough time to get experienced in driving. They tell us to just stay off the roads. 😉
    I do have an ice scraper but no snow shovel. If we had extended lengths of time with snow and ice, I’m sure we would figure out how to get out and about to get groceries. It just never lasts more than a day or two.
    You should see us in rain though. We totally rock. I’ve seen people mow their lawns in the rain here.

  250. I had a similar reaction when I moved from Ohio to Los Angeles in 1989 (I was there a year or so) and OMG IT RAINED ONCE and people just lost it trying to drive. Meanwhile, I’m zipping along shouting, “It’s only RAIN!” wondering why they were all slamming on their brakes and crawling to 30 mph on the highway. (Oh, so THAT’S what those weird thingies on the windshield are for.)
    I also survived the Blizzard of ’78 in Ohio (as a teenager, trapped with my parents in a house with no heat and no electricity for days), so my OMG STORM preparations are markedly benign. I don’t worry. I figure it was the Storm of the Century, and I’ve got a ways to go before I experience another one. I laugh at the empty bread aisles at W*lM*art and how the forecasters continually reference ’78 every time an inch of snow is likely. Maybe that’s a weatherman’s wet dream, IDK, a storm like that.

  251. I am from London (UK) but I live in Vancouver, BC. Here it usually just rains instead of snows. Vancouver gets about 46″ of the miserable, wet stuff every year while London has an annual average rainfall of 26″. So it’s a relief to look outside today and see a very light sprinkling of snow – it makes a nice change. Also it’s been dry, cold and bright for the past week so it shouldn’t be to bad out there today for people.
    Usually when it snows here, it’s wet first, then freezes and the snow sits on top of it. It’s deceptive for those people without experience of driving in snow and ice – I’ve seen some really surprised looks on some people’s faces as their cars have sailed unintentionally through red lights.
    We had a month of snow here between December-January 2008 and the city was really caught with its pants down – not enough ploughs, grit or salt. Everything ground to a halt. The city has been better prepared since then. In fact, they geared up very well last year for the Winter Olympics and…
    …then had to bring snow in by truck for Cypress. Oh well.

  252. I was checking the snowfall total for the area and it is only 157 inches for the winter. It just barely makes it into the top ten snowiest winters.

  253. Yep, we have that problem here too, If you know how to drive in the snow you’re good, but there are too many people on the road who won’t slow down, think that their 1,000 pound sports car will go through anything and stop in the middle of going up a hill, cuz they get a’scared. eyeyeyeye. Schools close at the first smell of snow/ice, grocery shelves empty faster than rats jump off a sinking ship. You won’t find toiletpaper for months. What is really sad is people lose their power for a few hours and write their wills and whine about how unfair life is. What are they going to do with no tv/computer/game thing?

  254. What’s with all the name calling?! Just live through a winter of dark until 8 am, dark at 3:30 pm, and rain for 90 days straight and see if you handle a little snow with aplomb and professionalism. If your area got some sort of unusual weather for which your road maintenance and vehicles were not prepared, wouldn’t your community have a different way of handling it, and wouldn’t it look silly to those from outside?
    I don’t mind a little levity and perspective. But all you calling us wimps? Bite me.

  255. I live in Saskatchewan. I just have to remind myself these ideas of never driving on snow or ice comes from people who have never had to check to see what the windchill is in order to judge how many layers you need to put on so that your skin will not freeze.

  256. Hi Stephanie,
    I live in Vancouver, BC. I am embarrassed to tell you that our school had a snow day this year because it snowed 7 centimetres !

  257. This Fairbanks girl is with you. All the way. Though we did have howling wind yesterday, and “it’s never windy in Fairbanks”. Thanks for the laughs!

  258. Steph,
    I used to be one of the Pacific NW snow wimps. Now I live in the Chicago area, and I laugh at snow (until I start crying around April when it won’t go away). So, I totally get it. Truly, I used to get horrible stomach cramps when I had to drive in snow for a few miles, when we lived in the Snoqualmie Valley east of Seattle. Now Fernando, my trusty Subaru Forester, gets me wherever we need to go, with confidence.

  259. I’m with the San Diego girl… I’ve lived in So. California all my life and have always said that southern californians don’t go out in the rain because they think they’ll melt. They also can’t drive in rain when they DO go out. I may think myself more manly than the usual resident about rain, but I wouldn’t know what to do with snow–it skeers me.

  260. It is in fact possible to die of hypothermia at 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Checking on the elderly is important.

  261. I live in Manitoba. In the country. I’m a single mom and I’m from England. You learn, it’s really that simple. You do everything slowly – drive slowly, turn slowly, accelerate slowly, brake slowly. And yet, every snowfall, every icy day, every damn year, there are those who do not get it. Every time I am forced to drive in a white-out blizzard where I cannot even see the yellow line, or yea, even unto the front of my car, there is some idiot in a truck who passes me like I’m standing still and I think, “What, does he have X-ray vision that he can see further than the rest of us in this crap?”

  262. I guess I have a little problem with people from snowy states / countries calling people who don’t know how to drive in the snow or ice morons, idiotic, silly, or any variation on that theme, especially when those people have had pretty much zero experience doing so. Why would you expect us to know how to do something that we don’t have any practice (or need to practice) doing so?
    Maybe I’m a little more sensitive as a Southern California girl dating a boy from Montana. I get constant trash talk ALL the time when it rains out here, even though he panics at the mere thought of driving in a crowded city whereas I have lots of experience doing so, and I never talk trash on HIM for it.
    Guess wet / icy driving is a pretty touchy subject.

  263. I’m in St. John’s, Newfoundland and you just made me laugh so hard red wine came out my nose! Good thing it didn’t land on the sock I’m knitting 😛

  264. I grew up just outside of Toronto and my husband is from Ottawa. I’ve lived here in Seattle for 10 years now and let me tell you Tina is right. It definately does shake your world view though. But let me tell you we once tried to drive on the I-5 2 days after it was done snowing but had been hovering just around the freezing point. We had a near miss on hitting the vehicle in front of us and came to a complete stop, at which point we started sliding sideways into the next lane. It can be like a skating rink here. Check out this youtube video from the nov storm. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhZCyQ3emQg
    This was the storm that turned 15 minute commutes into 12 hour ordeals. My husband who was born and raised in Ottawa and very used to driving in the snow camped in his office rather than try to make it home. As you can see in the video maybe 2 inches, but the terrain and the ice make it dangerous.

  265. The view out my dining room window is almost completely obstructed by piles of the white stuff so I know where you’re coming from. But having grown up in a city paralyzed when snow hits, I understand what you’re going through. The key is that they have no equipment to deal with it. Such is life. Be safe.

  266. I went to work today in the dark with clear roads. I cam out of work to a blizzard with near zero visibility and slick icy roads. I drove slowly and cautiously taking time to slow down even more before taking the off ramps. I got home just fine.

  267. What’s really funny about the Seattle area and snow is that the attitude is contagious. I merrily drove my little VW Golf around in Montreal for five years regardless of the weather. Here – in the Seattle area – I look at that centimeter of snow and wonder if it’s safe to drive. Of course, I’m with Tina and it’s more the other people and lack of general preparedness I don’t trust. Well, and my rear wheel drive pick-up. I do have a snow scraper and chains, but have never used the latter here.

  268. Having lived all but three years of my life in Florida, where we have a monsoon season, I feel this way about people from most anywhere else and the rain. Do not tell me that the PNW rains nearly every day, too. It does, yes, but we would call that sprinkling. Here it RAINS. (You would, however, get serious points for mud. You know mud.)

  269. I live in Massachusetts, one weather click colder/snowier than Boston (one wonders how the storms know that two circular highways, 128 and 495, are where the weather changes??? But it’s true, inside 128 it’s sleet, outside, heavy snow….we even saw the change one day, while driving over the 128 overpass!). We will drive in snow and ice, no problem, we buy cars with that in mind…..but not during rush hour…it is no fun being behind some turkey who inexplicably comes to a dead stop half way up a steep hill!!! Gotta look out for them, and stay out from behind them!
    Got a kid, a new driver? Make sure to take them to a parking lot and teach them to skid safely, and control the car when the antilock brakes kick in (remember, keep pressing when that happens, they are feathering FOR you, far better than you can ever do yourself!)

  270. Just watched your video link. Precisely!! Snow is essentially little pellets of frozen water that join together to make ice. This could have been outside my window. Thank you for sharing the visual proof.
    Our neighbourhood has some open ditches towards to the bottom of the hilly roads. This helps with keeping the drainage pathway to the storm sewers clear since there is easy access. Cars seem to be drawn to them as they slide down the road. Nothing pretty about watching a tricked out 4×4 ass end out of ditch.
    For most of us left wet coasters winter gear styling is a hodgepodge of clothing items layered for maximum warmth that may have originally been purchased for sports rather than commuting. Our version of snow boots is most likely rain boots with three layers of socks in them.

  271. All of this has made me laugh very hard….because it is all true. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and yes, everything shuts down in the snow. Truly, it is the hills. Now I live in Arizona and they have “rainy day” schedules for the kids when it is 35 degrees outside. Too cold! Now that is pathetic!!!

  272. I remember back in the late 90s a few friends were driving down to Florida. This was during what they then called the ‘Storm of the Century’. They just kept driving along, and couldn’t figure out why the roads were basically deserted. They finally switched over from listening to cds to the radio, and a panicked dj was literally screaming, ‘GET OFF THE ROADS!!! PEOPLE ARE DYING!!!’.
    My friends said that the roads were kind of like November in Ontario. Slushy and some patchy ice. When they got to Florida, they pretty much had their entire hotel to themselves because so many people had cancelled their trips.

  273. I live in Northeast Ohio. Snow, sleet, rain, the works. Last night we had a combo hit of all types of precipitation. This does not stop our world, we still have to go to school, work, etc. My boys complain about school not closing, I tell them, it is February in Ohio, suck it up!

  274. Add-on to my previous comment: And Steph, you must know that the rest of Ontario laughs at you Torontonians about snow! I live in Muskoka and when you guys panic about 5 – 10cm of snow, well, it makes our day!

  275. Okay – I get 1 & 2. My reality is more in line with yours but I can accept 1 & 2. #3?? I’m struggling. Not that I suggest neglecting the elderly EVER are they really more at risk at 28F than say, 35F? I’m all for precautionary measures but really?? Maybe in Miami – where nothing is insulated but in WA despite not harsh winters they do have heat? Yes?
    I just want spring – spring for all. As soon as possible.

  276. You should try snow in Georgia. If there are 3 flakes in the air, the entire population is required to rush to the grocery store for milk and bread. If it sticks…we have to hibernate until it is gone. This has been an interesting winter, what with FOUR actual snowfalls!!

  277. EWinter in Indy can be anything from 70 degrees to -25 and a blizzard. This month there was 3.5 inches of solid ice all over, then 4″ of snow on that, AND my furnace quit. I don’t care who can cope and who can’t, I just want it over! (Btw, my Yukon didn’t even make tire tracks on that ice! We all have our weather traumas, don’t we?)

  278. It’s all about the environs… What I think is a major, don’t drive in this, you will die, snowstorm here in Denver is NOT a reason to stay home in my hometown up in Wyoming.
    But cold weather warnings at -2C? Ridiculous! (Of course, when we get high wind warnings in Denver, for gusts of up to 30, I laugh!)

  279. Yeah, we are funny here in Seattle. As soon as I finished reading your post my son asked to go play at a friend’s house. I said I would drive him (2 blocks) becasue it is snowing and cold. (28F) He talked me out of it by promising to put his hood up and keep his hands in his pockets.

  280. I’m glad you live in Canada, and not in the South of the US. You wouldn’t last the three or four days of snow that we have, usually yearly. I grew up in Michigan and knew how to drive in the snow and ice, but since moving to the South, where it doesn’t happen on a regular basis, I’m glad I know how to stay home and knit, rather than try to drive in it and complain about how people don’t know how to deal with snow and ice.

  281. Come to Australia, Steph. Some places never fall below 15C! The only places that get snow in winter are up high or way down south. In Melbourne, frosts last about an hour and I’ve seen snow falling a handful of times in my 44 years. (It never reaches the ground.)
    We have no idea how to drive in snow and ice. I had to learn when we were in California and went to Yosemite in winter. DH had to put chains on the car. Heck we only learned how to WALK on ice when we went to Banff – we called it the snowboot shuffle.
    I love watching youtubes of people doing stupid things whilst driving their cars on ice/snow. I know how close I’ve been to being one of them 🙂

  282. I moved to Seattle from Omaha, Nebraska almost 30 years ago. I’ve been mocking the snow terrors of this region for all of those years because it seems so silly. However, the weather here is kind of bizarre. When it snowed in Omaha, it snowed all over Omaha. We got virtually no snow in my neighbourhood, but a few miles away they got a foot of snow. Go figure.
    The natives in these parts tell me that it’s the hills that are the problem and I come from the Midwest where it is flat. But, Omaha is on the Missouri River and there are some bodacious hills. It’s all about preparation.
    And, people, snow is winter weather, not a “snow emergency.”
    I recommend that you read Cliff Mass’ blog http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/ or get his book
    You know you love the PNW, Steph. You will return.

  283. Ummm…I have to agree with you, Stephanie. I live in NYS. What Port Ludlow got is a mere dusting to us here. Just goes to show how we all have our own standards for “bad weather”, doesn’t it?

  284. Ha! Your post made me laugh. I moved from Rochester, NY to Austin, TX a number of years ago and I still haven’t made the paradigm shift.

  285. I live in SW Washington. We had a “snow day” on Thursday for our kids. Hey, this is all great fun for us. We look forward to any excuse to stay home and have fun. Mock us all you want winter veterans but we are enjoying our rare glimpse of snow and ice.

  286. LOL! Comments are almost as funny as YH’s blog 🙂
    DH and I migrated to Durham, NC from Youngstown, OH 4 yrs ago. Our shift occured our first winter when there was a 2 hour school delay because it was raining ominiously. Having been teachers in a district that didn’t do 2 hr delays for anything, and rarely had snow days it was with a certain amount of glee that we called home to gloat.
    We’ve learned to enjoy the south’s tendency to shut down at the merest thought of ‘adverse’ weather, and joke about making french toast 😉

  287. We moved from Utah to Massachusetts 4 years ago. We were warned about the “Massholes” on the road, but really, it took seeing it to believe it. And now I am profoundly grateful every time the weatherpeople decide that it’s dangerous enough to stay home. That way I can tool around in my 4wheel drive all by myself on the roads. Or stay home. Either way, it’s like a vacation…

  288. Obviously it was not so much a blizzard of snow as a blizzard of snow-panic.
    I live around Chicago. A couple of years ago, my niece and her husband were back home on a visit. They had a couple of inches of snow back in North Carolina where he was stationed and his boss telephoned him on his mobile phone to check on him and caution him about driving after the “bad snow storm”. Since it was well below zero with a foot of snow on the ground where they actually were and it was all business as usual, we all had a good laugh about it.

  289. I enjoyed your comparison of weather experiences, especially since not only did San Francisco get snow last night (down to 400ft) for the first time in 35 years, but when it just rains here, drivers get weird.
    I also enjoyed it because I am reminded how glad I am that I don’t have to live in a winter like that. I would be one of the crazy drivers if I did, I am sure.

  290. That was too funny. Thanks.
    From Michigan most of my life. I love snow and it takes a whole lot before it makes me stop. I bet you can’t even buy chains here.

  291. You were very kind. Most of us from snowy places would have just had the whole post summarized with one word: wussies.

  292. Yeah…I know those Seattle people are crazy. I live on the east-side of the Cascades in Washington and we actually drove over the pass and back on Friday. We were kinda worried about the going back over that night part, so we took our chains and had blankets and food in the car. In Seattle it was about 28F and they were fully bundled…that was balmy considering we left that morning when it was 15F on the east-side around 11 AM. And as we drove back that night there were parts we drove though where the temp dropped to 2F. The east-side people of Washington laugh at the west-sidders like Canadians do.

  293. Friday morning, here in Cleveland, we had some snow falling (ok, it was a LOT of snow). I (as usual) walked to the bus stop, the bus was not late, and I was at work early even! The topic of conversation for hours (when people trickled in) was how awful the weather and commute was. Folks, it’s Cleveland. It snows. The funniest was listening to a woman talk about how bad her drive was – she lives closer to our office than my walk to the bus stop! Of course, I used to live in Newfoundland, which sort of makes me an honorary Canadian, doesn’t it?

  294. I grew up in a small town( 1 mile square) in central New Jersey that was flat as a pancake. We had no busing to school and I remember walking to school in 4-6 inches of snow on the ground when all the other towns had closed. Fast forward to about 12 years ago, my husband and I had moved to SW Connecticut, 120 miles north of where I grew up, with our 4 children. Upon waking to our first snowy school morning, I looked outside, saw there was about 3 inches of snow, got my kids up and out to the bus stop, which was at the end of our driveway. After awhile, I was beginning to wonder if the bus was running late when one of my neighbors (who happened to be the elementary school music teacher) came out of her house and yelled, “There’s no school today!”, It had never entered my mind that a school in New England would close for such a small amount of snow but I have since learned that even the threat of an inch or 2 closes down the school here. Who would ever think that a place that is known for snow would be so snow wimpy but that is how it is here. And we have all the road equipment, salt, and proper vehicles, too. Go Figure.

  295. As someone who grew up in Massachusetts (lots of snow), lived in North Dakota for several years (lots of snow, plus cold that makes you weep for your mommy), and then ended up in Tacoma, WA, the hubbub over a Northwestern dusting still baffles me a bit.
    Although I must say, I have certainly come to understand the perils of driving in even a wee bit of winter here. Imagine San Francisco—those hills, right? Now imagine driving up those hills on a layer of black ice, with no sand or salt under your tires. If you really want to blow your mind, imagine a city bus pinballing down one of those hills, bouncing off of every building, car and pole it slides into on the way down. It happens nearly every year, at least once. There’s a reason why we call ’em “beached whales” when they flip over at the bottom and lay there until the ice melts enough for them to be carted away.
    I don’t fancy getting pinned under a beached whale. So when it ices over, I prefer to stay home, brew some tea, and knit.

  296. Coming from the northern half of WI I have seen my fair share of snow. (We got 2+ feet in one day this year!) However it never fails to amaze me the number of people that can not drive in it. Now I am not talking about the “newbies” I am talking about the people that should know better. For example today we got less than 3 inches of snow and someone managed to ROLL their SUV… So I have adopted the policy of avoiding the roads when they are less than great, not because I can’t drive in it but because I am worried about the other morons out on the roads.
    As for those people in southern states I realize that things close because no one is equipped to handle the snow but many act like the world is going to end and raid the stores in preparation. To me that is a little nuts.

  297. I’m from Portland, OR and had to listen to all the snowpocalypse reports too. Sigh.
    Then I remember my first trip to Washington DC in September. I had managed to fly in on the tail end of a hurricane that had swept north. I was there for a week long class and had been told to take the night bus tour of the city. I called every night about the tour but it wasn’t until Thursday I was able to go.
    Reason why they weren’t doing the tours earlier in the week – wind and rain. I kept looking out going, its “a little windy and there’s rain”, don’t the buses have windshield wipers?
    I had to do a mental adjustment over what slowed them down. Kind of similar with a trip in May to Hawaii and the people apologizing for all the rain.

  298. As a few others have said – the roads out West are terrible and incredibly dangerous even with only a few inches of snow. I live in Vancouver now but grew up in Saskatchewan. I know snow. I know -40 days when the weather reports include the stats on how long it takes exposed skin to freeze. I first learned to drive during a Saskatchewan winter. But here? I am currently bunked in after a treacherous drive home (in a 4 wheel drive Jeep) that had me gripping the wheel and praying the whole way. We have about 6 inches of snow but it wreaks absolute havoc here and the roads are so much worse (and scarier/more dangerous) than back home, even though they get a thousand times more snow. We just aren’t equipped to deal with it and no one else on the roads knows how to drive in snow. I am staying the heck home tomorrow and I’m not even ashamed.

  299. I know that there are already a ton of comments (somewhere in the 300’s by now) but I just thought that I really have to add this.
    I, a lifetime resident of Silverdale (take the Seattle-Bremerton ferry and you’re about 10 minutes away from my house) and a resident of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma for the schoolyear, need to say that even I don’t understand this fear of driving in a half an inch of snow thing!

  300. Having grown up in St.John’s,Newfoundland,I gotta say we are just loving our weather in north central Pa.this winter.For two months the pond in front of our house has been lit by lights set up around it and maintained by my human zamboni husband and his small crew of pick up hockey buds.Even our Colombian exchange student has learned to not only ice skate but also downhill ski. So as for snow,I say” Bring it on!”
    Besides..when is a Colombian kid ever going to get a snow day again!

  301. I live about 35 minutes from Port Ludlow and we were snowless in this last “storm”. Our schools went on as usual. There can be tremendous differences in weather in just few miles around here.
    I blame the TV stations who hype these storms to increase their veiwership. They make major deals out of minor events.
    Beside hills you need to talk about the type of snow that falls. The snow here is usually wet and ices the road. If we get a sudden temperature drop during rush hour the roads become impossible. In our pre-Thanksgiving storm this year I-5 traffic ground to a halt and abandoned cars were everywhere. It takes only a few articulated buses or semis across the road to prevent even cars with chains from moving.
    Yes, we do over react and we don’t do enough to prepare but there are some climatic and geographical reasons that just a little snow can be a challence.
    The good news was all this cold weather was great for those of us with lots of woolen winter items stuffed in our closets. I actually needed mittens, a hat, and my heaviest sweater.

  302. Um … it’s not THAT unusual to get that weather here in Louisiana and we don’t make that much of a fuss! And I do have an ice scraper, which gets used mostly when it sleets or there is freezing rain, and then that freezes overnight onto the car. But I’ve never needed more than a pushbroom to manage to clear the walk of the occasional inch or three of snow we get in Baton Rouge, so I don’t own a snow shovel. Snow never has kept me from driving anywhere. Just makes me slow down and leave a longer following distance behind the car in front of me, like one ought to do when it rains heavily.
    Speaking of which, transplants from the Western US react about the same way when we have an average rainstorm here. They completely and utterly freak out and think the world is ending … while I’m deciding if it’s too windy for an umbrella and if I should just wear the raincoat because it’s so much easier.

  303. BTW, urban street-sweeping machines – such as those used to clean up after mardi gras parades — can be used to clear a few inches of snow off roadways, and city maintenance trucks can sprinkle sand. We do know how to improvise down here. 🙂

  304. Here is another statement to shock you Steph,
    That first photo of the road is more snow than i have EVER seen…
    yep. EVER.
    I have seen snow (as in actually falling from the sky, not old iced over snow behind a mountain in spring) exactly once. I drove (yes drove and we had to hire chains before we went up the mountain just in case) to the top of one of the snow field mountains here in Victoria, Aus last spring (very cold spring) and i was lucky enough to see it actually snow and there was snow on my nose and on my eyelashes and it was AWESOME! and yes, i was extremely nervous driving in the snow and i was REALLY glad it wasn’t any more ‘wintery!’
    I am boggled by the concept of snow ALL WINTER. It’s pretty much the ONLY reason I probably will never move to Canada (I love everything else about Canada!)

  305. When there isn’t a dedicated road commission to take care of snow, then it is pretty scary to drive.
    It was frustrating moving south because they just don’t have the manpower to deal with 2 inches of overnight snowfall. But if it only normally snows 2 or 3 times a month, maybe they couldn’t pay the guys to plow and salt.
    I live in a college town and I keep a wide berth from the apartment complexes where the foreign kids live. They have not pirouetted in a car before, and don’t realize you need to turn your wheels to where you are going, not where you would like to go.
    Then again, my friend from California thought doing donuts might be dangerous.
    Molly : )

  306. I feel your confusion. I grew up in Marquette, Michigan which is in the part that sticks up into Lake Superior. The average snowfall in my parents’ area is just short of 200 inches, which I think translates to around 5 meters. Nothing shut down in our area unless there was a full on ice storm, or we had 6-8 inches (17ish cm) of snow. I now live in Chicago and laugh at what some people think are bad conditions.

  307. Last November weather shut Fairbanks, Alaska down for 3 days. The weather? Rain. But it was rain on frozen roads. It is now referred to as the “Icepocolypse.” It was really bad.

  308. I feel your pain, lol. I visited Seattle for the 1st time late November. I was assured that 1. It always rains in Seattle. 2. It never snows in Seattle. Short story is it never rained, but iced and snowed and kept us walking a range of 300 slippery feet @ 7th and Pine. Thank God for the AMC theater and the Brewery at Pacific Place mall.
    I didn’t get to see much there as the city was otherwise crippled by 1 inch or so of ice and snow. Saw 8 hrs of SEATAC and your photo summed up my stay there. Knitting needles out and sock worked. So I’m home now on Oklahoma where 1. It sucks all the time 2. It seldom snows.
    But yes, we got 2 ft of snow and a blizzard, and yes, it still sucks all the time.

  309. Yes, Steph, you are completely correct. We in the Pacific Northwest are total wussies when it comes to driving in snow. It doesn’t take much to throw us off. Matter of fact, a few years ago we had a major pileup on the Interstate caused by a rainbow.

  310. Too funny, Stephanie! I was supposed to go to a meeting here in Vancouver yesterday but it was cancelled because the snow WAS COMING….not a flake on the ground yet but it was decided it MAY be too treacherous for people to attend. Now, I’ve lived in Vancouver all my life and granted we’re not used to dealing with a lot of snow but even I think that is lame!

  311. Hahahaha! Oklahoma has the same general idea of snow. It took the second blizzard in 2 years to convince people to stay home. On Christmas 2009, every highway in the city was closed because there were so many cars stranded on them. They were rescuing people for 2 days. Last month, people finally wizened up and stayed home. They just don’t always realize that you can’t drive 75 on icy roads in blizzard conditions and expect to stop on a dime. It was 3 days before I could get out of my apartment complex driveway because they didn’t clear it.

  312. YOU SAY THIS LIKE IT IS A BAD THING OR A JOKE TO CHECK ON ELDERLY NEIGHBORS, who could, by the way, slip and fall on the ice and lay there in freezing—yes, at 28 degrees—weather….. “It was so cold in Port Ludlow, that the weather guys were warning people to take appropriate precautions and check on elderly neighbours.
    It was 28F. That’s -2 C.”
    Love, Peace, and Understanding, y’all

  313. It’s taken me 10 years living in Victoria, BC to ‘almost’ shift – being that I spent a good part of my life North of Toronto past a few snow belts (near Hwy 9, then near Hwy 89, then ultimately, in Barrie)…
    I had a snow day on Wed (crazy thought)

  314. I live in the great pacific northwest and trust me….it isn’t snow and ice on the roads that most of us worry about. Anyone with a bit of common sense can drive on it, given the right sort of tires and roadsense.
    I just spent last evening driving from Seattle to Bellingham with about 1-2 inches of snow on the freeway…. we counted 8 multi car accidents on the way home and with some of the drivers we encountered on the road, we know why the accidents happened.

  315. Everyone is used to the conditions of the area they live in and every area has it’s own problems. I think it’s normal to be leery of something you don’t have to deal with all of the time. I think it’s also fairly normal, if not kind, to make fun of those who aren’t use to something that you take for granted. I will try to remember this the next time someone makes fun of the reaction of many, in this drought ridden area, to a storm and try not to laugh my head off at their reaction to an earthquake.

  316. LOL! I moved to Seattle from Chicago many many moons ago. We Northwesterners are weather weanies. At the first hint of snow, people leave work. Last Wednesday we had snow flurries, which meant that normally busy restaurants and businesses were empty. We’re goofy. And when we do have heavy snow, we can’t lift a snow shovel to save our lives. Even shops won’t remove snow from their steps. Goofballs.

  317. I beg to differ! I live in Lake Oswego and I do own an windshield ice scraper. And I had to use it twice in one week!

  318. In my childhood, I lived in Minnesota twice, so I realize Seattle is funny about snow, but I visited Minnesota once when it snowed very early, no one had chains, the plows, salt, sand, weren’t out, and those people were sliding all over the place. In Seattle we have LOTS of hills and about two plows, it really is tricky. What’s really wierd is that sometimes in L.A. the schools close due to rain. . .

  319. I grew up in Montana (5 ft of snow at a time and -40F) and went to college in Minnesota (all of the above plus 40 MPH wind straight down from Lake Winnepeg). And have been all over the U.S. in the winter. I’ve lived in Seattle for 40+ years. Snow here is like no where else. It always starts snowing at about 33F and then drops to about 30F. It is always extremely slippery because the snow is so wet. And we have lots of hills and some HILLS.
    When it takes 12 hours to drive 15 miles you learn that it’s best to stay home.

  320. I think that as a person that grew up in San Diego, driving in the snow is the most frightening thing I’ve ever experienced. I was caught in the mountains with, essentially, my pants down. No chains, no 4 wheel drive, no scraper, there was no one plowing/salting/sanding the roads, no exits available to stop at. The unpreparedness made it so much worse. And that no one is really mentally prepared to deal with the snow. So put the two together… an inch and a half of snow means I go to an inn and stay there until the next day. =P
    Heaven help me if I move back to Canada.

  321. I lived in Seatttle after being in North Idaho, it’s alot like Canada, in fact just below it. I thought Seatleites were wimps but the fact is their roads are made for shedding water, lots of it. They angle into the ditch which is where you end up on a road like your picture..don’t ask how I know. Tina was right those people have no experience in snow which makes them lethal. they see no reason to slow down just because there is snow and/or ice on the road.

  322. A recent story in our local paper – points out that driving conditions/training for each location are essential knowledge:
    I am very glad I took my driving lessons in Nov. through Dec.here in Edmonton – I still had to learn rain driving during spring/summer, but have a reasonable grip (sorry!) on winter driving here. I’m sure I would need more lessons in places with other types of winter

  323. I have to stick up for all us Southerners who can’t deal with snow…I bet y’all haven’t had to deal with hurricanes or six months of +90 degree heat either — with 90% humidity.
    I like Canada. When I visited Calgary, the snow was like fluffy cold floating paper. But it FEELS colder down here when it gets cold. Cuz we still have that humidity. I feel colder in Houston than I ever did in Calgary.
    But I did have to bust out my purple coat four or five times this winter.
    Oh, BTW, it’s 80 degrees today and sunny. Spring has sprung.

  324. And in Chicago, where we only shut down for blizzards that dump two feet of snow on us, I keep a snow shovel in my car. *sigh*. To each his/her own.

  325. From the PacificNW. I was shocked to hear a Californian wonder how we could drive in seriously heavy rain. That being said, it’s what your used to, plain & simple.
    For as often as we get it, I’d rather be outside playing in it…

  326. I live in Montreal, if we stopped driving every time there was snow I’d be housebound about 7 months of the year. Oh and we’re still making fun of Toronto for calling in the army that one time.

  327. I was raised in Colorado and Idaho and have driven in the snow just as a matter of course. Your post reminds me of a time when I was driving on the mountainouse interstate through Idaho/Montana in a snowstorm – only one lane was passable and it was bumpy with hardpacked ice and snow. Yet I was steering with one hand and eating a sandwich with the other. I only found out later that my California friend riding shotgun was trying hard not to totally freak out.

  328. I live in NY but work in Seattle. I have experienced work closing early because snow was forecast. Not actually snowing, just forecast. Also, tv stations telling Seattlites what to pack in their cars including food in case they were stranded when it snowed. This is in an area with a population of over 3 million people. I say if you get stranded, open the door and skate to the corner coffee shop.

  329. I’m here in Michigan, by way of southern Ontario, so I’ve seen my fair share of show. I don’t ENJOY driving in it, mostly for reasons similar to Tina’s. I’m OK with following the rules and slowing down a bit. Others are not, and I don’t like that.
    However, at -2C, I’d probably be outside in a tank top and shorts. (Perhaps not really, but that does seem pretty balmy compared to the thermometer’s recent readings).

  330. I grew up (and currently live) in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan ( that little spit of land that sticks out of the Upper Peninsula into Lake Superior). On a good winter day, here, we ‘only’ get about 3 inches of snow. If snow kept us in, we’d be like bears– going into our dens in September and coming out in June…
    Then I moved to Chicago… which is in the midwest, and on a Great Lake, but where all the drivers drive like they grew up in South California. After the 3rd very near miss accident in very light snow in Chicago, I made a rule. If it’s snowing, I’m working from home. *I* know how to drive in the snow, but that million other people are IDIOTS! 🙂

  331. I live just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where we had a blizzard about a month ago. It was a fairly serious blizzard with approximately 20 or so inches of snow and most businesses and schools were closed for at least 1 day. People acted like they were going to be snowed in for a week! I went to work the next day and by evening the main roads were pretty good. Just large snow piles everywhere.

  332. Amazing, I live in Syracuse NY and we drive in all sorts of weather. Not that I feel safe all the time, I don’t, however, what has to be done has to be. I live close to the airport and if I hear planes at 6 AM I know I have to go out. Shoveling the stuff is the pits. So far this winter season over 160 inches. Oh well.

  333. It depends on where you live of course! We’re near San Francisco, and rarely does it ever get cold enough to snow – like maybe once every 20 years. So we’re not used to driving on ice etc. This time of year the hills are very green from all the rain.

  334. Ha. A skim of ice AND green grass? Sounds like early summer to this Wyoming girl! Flip flops and short skirts for sure.

  335. You got good advice about staying put, I’m glad you listened. I’m in Greater Vancouver and had a lovely day at home watching it snow today. We don’t get enough snow to know how to deal with it. No plows, no experience driving in snow, hills galore, nobody with the right tires. Going out is soooo not worth it, especially since it should be gone in a few days. The tradeoff for not having snowy winters is having grey rainy weathers for months.

  336. It is all relative when dealing with snow. We moved from Maine to Virginia last summer and to our surprise after 2 1/2 inches of snow one day our son had TWO days off from school! In Maine nobody would have batted an eye. It made me nervous wondering how the roads were treated prior to storms this year, there just isn’t equipment in these warmer states so it puts people at risk for the unknown.

  337. I’ve never driven in snow and do not intend to try. Here in central Arizona rain presents enough of a hazard. (Try getting on the freeway during the first rain after a four-month dry spell. When the raindrops hit the pavement, that layer of accumulated oil and rubber that’s built up over all those weeks turns, basically, into Teflon. Or try driving down a rural road, bearing in mind the phrase “unbridged crossing” and that the soil out here has all the absorbent qualities of Reynolds Wrap. And when you get to the unbridged crossing, be careful. That guy out there in the wash, the one who looks as though the water is up to his ankles? He may just possibly be standing on the roof of his pickup truck.)

  338. Yup, Tina was right. I live near Seattle, but lived in the Sierras for 10 years, so driving in snow is no big deal…except here, where your driving skills don’t matter, it’s the other
    guy(s) who don’t know what they’re doing. No 4WD, no chains, just a lot of small Japanese cars sliding around.

  339. In defense of Tina, someone did lose their life due to dangerous road conditions on Thursday in the Seattle area.

  340. Well, I hate to say this since we live in Canada, but in Victoria we got snow on Wednesday (over a foot in a few hours!), and the whole city was retty quiet. The worst part is that it covered all the pretty blossoming flowers. 🙂 And our flower count starts this week. Let’s hope the forecasted rain melts the snow and helps those flowers a little.

  341. I grew up in Alaska, then just moved back here last fall after living in Washington for 10 years.
    Seriously, yo, they would close school for the same amounts of ice. We lived next door to the school. All I had to do was toss the kid over the fence, and he’s there!
    Here, the only time they’ve closed school in the last 35 years was for wind. Over 100mph. And at that, it was only 3 days.

  342. I lived in Michigan for 1 year and they are the same way with ice and snow. My kids had so many snow days they almost had to make them up at the end of the year. I live in Wisconsin and we are not afraid of snow. I understand your need for a worldview shift-I had to do that in Michigan.

  343. *lol*
    I would like to invite you over for one of the rare (and unpredicable) occasions the UK (excluding Scotland here) gets any amount of snow. You would find us very entertaining and mind-boggeling. Only problem is that you would never arrive here because the planes can’t land on ice and snow and the trains get stuck in the tunnel because the ice and snow melt and cause a short in the engine…
    And for the record – I have survived both a (albeit mild) Canadian winter in New Brunswick and an Upstate New York winter in my time. I have vague memories what proper snow looks like. My problem with snow is that I tend to slip and fall hard on my ass – that I really don’t like… 😉
    And I thought you would like to know that the crocuses here have nearly finished blooming and the daffodils are just starting. I like me some South Wales weather. 🙂

  344. I think I understand what you are trying to say. It is hard to see things from a different cultural perspective. I don’t really appreciate the readers’ comments calling other drivers wimps when they are concerned about driving in weather that they have little to no experience with. The roads in these areas are often not constructed with snow removal in mind, and many drivers have vehicles that will not do well on icy or slick conditions. I applaud drivers who accept that they don’t know what they’re doing and stay the heck home. Tina was right. If there are no plows, salt trucks, or snow tires, then the roads are dangerous.

  345. EEuuuuuuu….what is that white stuff all over the place? You know, Stephanie….you’re a big shot now…you make good money….people recognize you…you need to fly to places that have sun and blue skies. No need for you to put up with snowy nonsense anymore, dear.
    That’s for little people with no options. >:-)

  346. My sister, born and raised in Rochester, NY, moved to Texas just in time for the pre-Super-Bowl snow storms. She gleefully recounted watching people scrape their cars with hardcover textbooks, oven mitts, and even a plastic dustpan. Eventually they showed their neighbors how to start the car, turn on the front and rear defrosters, and then wait a minute, and then drive away with perfect visibility.

  347. Here In NE Missouri we had a whopping 20″ of snow the beginning of Feb. and everything stopped for a few days as would be expected. What stunned me was that 4 days after the snow newscasters started the evening news with the solemn statement the the local citizens needed to SHOVEL THE SIDEWALKS!! We are from WI where the sidewalks are expected to be shoveled 24 hours after a storm otherwise the city issues a hefty fine. I’m astonished that so few residents shovel their walks after a storm, quite often our house is the only one on the block with clear sidewalks. And we won’t talk about driving.

  348. Having spent time in Vancouver, but living in NC/TN area… I know what you mean about disconnect. In Canada and there is snow, it doesn’t really matter (and I’m talking lots of snow). In TN/NC if there are FLURRIES it is bad. Half a foot of snow will shut down things for a week (and by things I mean EVERY thing). It’s so disconcerting to me, being American, and being okay with snow to get a snow day when the snow has melted after 15 minutes. Although I do love the days off.

  349. You should have been in San Francisco — A SNOWFLAKE WAS SPOTTED ON TWIN PEAKS! I swear Jesus could have walked on water, and no one would have noticed, cause there was SNOW in the higher elevations. And an ARTIC BLAST — we got down to 28 degrees at night, and 40 during the day under clear skies–it’s amazing we even survived.

  350. It would be instructive if our local states and provinces in Northern climes would refrain from doing anything about one of the little ‘wimpy’ storms and let us learn to appreciate just what a huge difference the tons of salt and sand and thousands of pieces of snow removal equipment make.
    I’ve lived in New England all my life, but I’ve noted just how much equipment we maintain to deal with cold weather. Not only do the states, cities, and towns have plow and salt/sand spreaders, but landscaping and construction businesses mount plows to their trucks and contract to do snow removal. Front end loaders are put to work pushing snow into mountains at the remote corners of large parking lots. Individuals with long driveways or who live in the boondocks are likely drive a pickup so they can mount a plow. I’ve seen plows on tractors and ATVs.
    This morning I had to drive to work in freezing rain- it was wet in the air, but froze on the ground (one of my least favorite weathers). I slid down the driveway in a skier’s crouch so I didn’t fall–but when I got out to the main street, the salt trucks had reduced it to light slush. It makes a huge difference. If the road had been in the same condition as my untreated driveway, I’d have turned around and gone home, because I’d never had made it to work safely.
    It’s a tribute to our industry and ingenuity that we’ve learned so well how to cope. And no shame to our southern and western neighbors, for whom it’s not economic to emulate us, that they choose to shut down and stay home instead.

  351. It’s similar for me, and although Boston’s no Canada, I grew up there and we all can handle snow and ice pretty well. Now I’m living in DC for school and it’s ridiculous that the public schools, government and shops around here close when they hear we’ll be getting an inch of snow in the afternoon. It’s a wonder everyone survived through the multiple feet of snow we got down hear last winter…

  352. Hey Steph,
    Please let us know what you are using to take your pictures that you post on the blog….is it your phone (I remember the sock pictures in the car) and then the ones from SeaTac. Wasn’t sure if you used that or if you always travel with a digital camera in your knitting bag. Thanks for all you do with the blog and the books. Makes a fairly new knitter have hope! 🙂

  353. “Tina reminded me that there are hills. Slopes. Dark and winding roads perilously covered in Ice.”
    Sooo…. That describes VT 5-6 months of the year. But yes, we’re equipped. I have studded snow tires and TWO ice scrapers in my car…
    And I’ve seen the salt trucks going along the road BACKWARDS because that way they’re salting before they drive on the road!

  354. I have lived in suburban Chicago for most of the last 25 years. We do not even own chains for the car. I do not even know anyone who uses them. (And we get plenty of snow and ice,) There is necessary equipment however, and I understand that without it you are stuck. (books to scrape the windows!–that is great!) I heard that in the Atlanta area there are only a dozen or so snowplows. Our school district probably has more! And speaking of school, in Illinois our school calendar is built with at least 5 snow days a year included. If we don’t use them we get out early. (Or if we use them we stay later–depends on your point of view.) Snow is not much of a travel deterent–But planes are different. I want runways squeeky clean and plane wings ice free. I am all for shutting down planes and airports. And yes I have spent nights on airport benches or stranded without bags in hotels. It is still better than falling from the sky or skidding off the runway onto the highway.

  355. This post made me smile. I hail from Minneapolis. My son is a first grader. I just got a note last week reminding parents to send winter-appropriate clothes every day because they will go out for recess and Environmental Ed as long as the windchill is not below -9F (about -23C).

  356. Wow… just… wow.
    I got up today, the weather was -30C (with a windchill of “OMG you DIDNT which is another, less polite way of stating that you don’t want to know) and it was snowing!!! And there were no radio announcements entreating the populace not to venture forth, not one mention of checking on the elderly (other than to please be a “snow angel” and shovel for someone less able) and there was certainly no way my boss was going to accept “snow and ice” as a reason I couldn’t come to work — no I couldn’t see more than 2 cars in front of me due to snow and blowing snow and yes, there was a layer of ice…
    But then Winter lasts 8-10 months here…
    Can I move to Port Ludlow??? 2c sounds like SUMMER!

  357. My in-laws moved from the mountains in Colorado to Phoenix. One thing that struck me was there were roads designed in a way that would never fly in Colorado, like straight up a steep slope, with a curve at the top and bottom. If you never get snow & ice that seems perfectly reasonable!
    Although I do remember a road like that from my childhood. We all called it S.O.B. Not until I was an adult did I find out its actual name was Curvy Hill.

  358. Yup, been there, done that. I’m a Canadian (Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax) living in Washington DC.

  359. Since I live in Northern Ontario and witness ALOT of snow – like in 10 to 12 feet a year kind of snow—this region in the Northwest sounds like a circus in some ways.
    I grew up in the Mid-Atlantic in Delaware, and the snow events were probably similar to this Northwest/Seattle area.
    Sad really-and sometimes I must admit – that I laugh out loud at what antics people do to drive in these regions. SORRY !!!

  360. I grew up in outback Australia and now live in northern Colorado. So, you can imagine the climate is rather different. The first drive in the snow/ice every season is always a bit of a “okay, slow down, use your gears, watch out for “flat landers” – people not use to being in the mountains/snow. But it’s not too bad. On the whole, people seem to get it and slow down and give people plenty of room.
    We live in a semi-rural area and live 300 yards off the main road down a dirt lane. We love our neighbor who uses his bobcat and digs us out (1.5ft or more) when required. I make him and his wife a tray of cookies for christmas every year to say thank you! I haven’t offered to make him socks as yet….

  361. I remember teasing a Southern workmate about this type of situation several years ago, (I’m in Ohio) and she informed me that they are unprepared for snow because it’s such a rare occurrence. No plows, no salt, no sand. When ice/snow happens, the city shuts down.
    Since I have this understanding, I would never dream of poking fun at an area that I think is more ‘wussified’ than here in Ohio, where we have blizzards at Easter and beyond.

  362. “Wea” culpa – we’re not experts with snow, agreed (I don’t see the need for name-calling, however it looks to those of you who live in snowier climes – how many earthquakes and volcanoes do you deal with, up north?). We may go 2 or three years without more than a flake or two, so when are we going to get the chance to practice? I own an ice scraper and chains for my car and, like Tina, I know when I can handle the roads and when I can’t, but can’t count on the other drivers to do likewise. Portland does not own one snowplow, let alone a fleet; why pay millions of dollars for unitaskers that only get used once in a blue moon? They bolt blades on the city dumptrucks and do the best they can.
    Since I work for a school district, I prepare for a possible shutdown by taking home my work laptop and any papers I need, and then I do my work at home via conference call. If it’s declared, it’s declared – not a lot any of us can do about it, except use common sense and be prepared. I stayed home, but not two blocks from my house there was a major accident at a neighborhood intersection (25 mph limit) that put both cars in the ditch and sent one driver to the hospital, and this was on flat ground. If I lived somewhere where snow was inevitable and frequent, I’d buy a different car, equip it properly, and get whatever training and experience I needed to function.
    On the other hand, we natives roll our eyes at the newbies who move here and don’t know how to drive in the rain. How hard can that be??
    At least I can knit during the conference call at home; no chance of that in the office.
    Sorry you were delayed and glad you made it home OK.

  363. Your post made me roar with laughter. I grew up in St. John’s, and more than once I drove home on roads that in seconds went from asphalt, to something Brian Orser would do a triple lutz on.
    So, yeah, I don’t think I could make the shift.

  364. Hi Stephanie,
    I am very sorry your travel plans were upset by what you see as overreaction to minor winter conditions, but please (kindly) consider my opinion.
    I have lived farther north than Toronto as well as all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. Please have a little sympathy for those who see little if any frozen precip. or freezing temperatures. In many places in the southern U.S., people are living in older homes with little or no insulation and mediocre heating. Every year during cold snaps, elderly people do in fact die of hypothermia and many others from fires/carbon monoxide poisoning due to impromptu heating efforts.
    As for the driving, if it isn’t a seasonal experience, nobody learns the skills and the cities do not have adequate snow/ice removal.
    Finally, even after living and driving for most of my life in the northern U.S., I have made the judgment that ice is the great equalizer: I have personally witnessed a city bus slide backwards downhill in Duluth after an icing event.
    All good wishes, just asking for a little consideration 🙂

  365. In Fargo–things close when you can’t see. I mean really–you can’t see to the end of the block when driving due to blizzard winds and flying snow. It doesn’t need to be new snow coming down–the wind here will whip up anything.
    I do sympathize w/ Lokismom from Duluth–I really can’t imagine driving there.
    My colleagues and I chuckled over news reports from Atlanta when they had their snowstorm earlier this winter. “The seven city plows couldn’t keep up.” 7 plows??? In a city the size of Atlanta?? If you only have 7, why even bother?

  366. Yup. Two scrapers under the seat and a pusher and shovel behind it. Past few days I’ve been using all of them, but it didn’t stop me from going where I wanted, when I wanted.
    I appreciate your sarcasm, no matter what, Canadians and New Englanders are ready for anything winter comes up with. There’s always kniting, TG

  367. Being from Calgary (where there was a hell of a storm this weekend), I always, ALWAYS shake my head when I hear of schools and roads being closed down due to a flurry. And my husband and I had a great chuckle about the weather guys telling people to check on their elderly neighbours, lest they freeze to death, I’m sure. That -2 is a killer. 😉
    Also, I just got my doula training done! So if any of my ladies go into labour, you can bed your bottom I’ll be hauling to their houses, snow or not!

  368. My dad is from NY, and moved down here to the western part (the mountain-owning part)of North Carolina before I was born. 30+ years later, he still shakes his head when “winter weather” advisories come out and everyone looses their grip. Jokes about “milk sandwiches” abound. I will admit that we all make a point of staying off of the roads, since a lot of people here can’t drive in bad weather. Their reactions range from riding the brake all the way down slippery mountains to speeding their way home before the weather gets worse. I’m not interested in getting t-boned by someone who only sees snow once or twice a year and hasn’t checked their tires since 1995.
    On the flip side, there were a number of occasions when I was growning up where PART of the county (higher elevations) would get hammered with 8 inches, and where we lived in town was still sandles and bicycles weather. We’d get out of school and still have nice weather to play in. :))

  369. I lived in Alaska for three winters and didn’t own chains (though, to be fair, I did put barrels of sand in the back of my truck for weight).
    In California, the highway patrol stops and inspects vehicles to make sure they have chains if snow is threatened (on major freeways). We were once in a 3 hour back up with cops checking that cars were chained. We had to buy chains. Two miles past the checkpoint, the snow (where you could still see the lines of the road) ended and we could take the chains off. But we’ve snuck past checkpoints (shhh!) without chains and found cars flipped over, turned around backwards, sliding across lanes in two inches of snow. Tina was right – for your safety, you had to leave early.
    It’s hard for someone who has lived in Alaska (or my Partner, who lived in Utah) to wrap our heads around.

  370. I’m just a lowly Coloradoan (I bow before your superior ice and snow experience Stephanie) but I would have trouble shifting that worldview too. Here all ice means is you drive slower or allow more distance between you and the car in front of you. But the air is thinner here so we might be crazy. 🙂
    Glad you’re headed home. Safe travels.

  371. Hilarious. But that’s exactly what we are like in Britain too! Not enough grit for the roads ever, we haven’t even heard of snow chains. When it snows the entire country shuts down, which wouldn’t be a big deal, but for the last two years we have had (by British standards, not Canadian) really bad snow / ice periods, so it kind of is.
    I don’t drive in snow, ever. Why? Because whilst I know exactly how to drive in snow and ice, most people in Britain don’t (that much is painfully obvious) and it’s them who will crash into me!

  372. I hope you got all the way home safely. I laughed at your post because we are the same way here in New Mexico. It snows once or twice a year in my city, but there are no plows or sand trucks, so the place just shuts down. I have a job that closes when the schools close, so I have never learned to drive on snow or ice.

  373. i’m also from the toronto area, and have experienced ridiculous “precautions” once while driving through the US. there was a centimetre of snow, and cars were in the ditch. i saw snowplows making sparks as they scraped the pavement. it was insane. my jaw dropped as i looked at all of your pics and read the stories– out of control!

  374. Thanks for the post – you were very understanding and patient. Was the airport actually closed?? I just moved to Seattle from Wisconsin and it does feel like an alternate universe, doesn’t it? I will grudgingly give them this though, as I roll my eyes and try not to get sucked into the hysteria: steep hills + no snow equipment + panicky drivers = better stay at home. 🙂

  375. Being a GRITS (Girl Raised In The South) who has never lived anywhere else, I TOTALLY get the whole snow and ice thing. Our schools close if they even predict snow (even I think that’s a little much) and everybody rushes to the grocery store to buy milk and bread. And we do NOT drive until the sun is back out and the roads are clear again. LOL

  376. I am laughing because I am from California. We drive _to_ the snow. Then we fear driving in the snow while we are there However, the Highway 80 (Sierra Nevadas) last week did indeed look like the photo you posted (lots of snow, wind and virtually no visibility) and then Caltrans shut down the highway. This prevents you from driving on the highway at all, and worrying about driving in those conditions. Instead you are huddled on the side of hwy80, turning on the heat in your car and averting your eyes as everyone lined up around you starts whipping out their privates and peeing on the side of the road since they have been there for several hours.

  377. If you think that’s bad you can only imagine what happened 2 or 3 years a ago when the entirety of Las Vegas (THE Las Vegas… in the Desert, with the Casinos) was covered in 2″ of snow. Airport shut down. Cars were abandoned on the side of the roads. Businesses sent people home early.
    The city simply wasn’t prepared for it. And still isn’t. The city is two broke. Not to mention it’d be absolutely silly to spend MILLIONS of dollars on equipment that would MAYBE get used once every thirty or so years.

  378. I would like to qualify the difference between western and eastern Washington. Eastern Washington has four distinct season, each full of the weather that qualifies the season. Rain and mud (mixed a bit of snow and sun) is in the spring, summer is full of sunshine and even 100 degree days, fall is crisp and has some rain and snow, and winter is full of snow and ice and sub zero weather. Eastern WA drivers are fine with snow, sleet, ice, rain, and melting asphalt. Only problem is that Western WA drivers come over her to play in our snow/water/sunshine, and then things get ugly. Because what you said is true about the Coasties.

  379. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest. The problem with snow out here is that it is always accompanied by ICE and the municipalities are completely under equipped to help people get around in cars. Having grown up in Montana and lived in Minneapolis/St. Paul – we learned very quickly when we first moved here – it is not the same as living somewhere that actually has winter. In my perfect world – everyone who grows up here would move to a place with real weather for at least two years so they have an idea of what weather can really be like. Pacific Northwesterners complain about the weather (year round) more than anywhere I have ever lived or visited.

  380. I also come from a place where snow, cold and ice are not unusual several months of the year (say 8-9 depending on the year). Like Tina, I have confidence in my skills but am completely wary of those around me. For example, come fall, you can easily pick out every person who is from somewhere else that doesn’t have much snow. Watch how they drive (or don’t), how they park and the fact they put on a heavy coat and it isn’t even down to freezing yet. I accept it as a hazard of living a gorgeous place people wish to move to. Now, fur coats in Dallas? That one I still do not understand, nor do I care to.

  381. Stephanie, you might have had a different opinion of our fair state if you were here in Washington three months ago. In November we had a snow and ice storm that you would have laughed at…until you started seeing our cars and metro buses sliding down our treacherous hills and crashing into things. It wasn’t due to bad driving, but bad road conditions that no-one could remedy fast enough with salt, sand, and plows.
    Perhaps you don’t know that in the city where I live just east of Seattle (which contains many gorgeous hills), there is not one single snow plow. So if we receive a large amount of snow, we residents have to wait for the county to get around to plowing our roads, meaning that more cars are driving on the snow, compacting it down to a scary layer of ice.
    I hope the new terminal at the airport at least kept you entertained during your delay. Fireworks is one of my favorite shops, and there is a ton of cute stuff to see there!

  382. There was talk of “snow” (read: the briefest possible flurries) in SAN FRANCISCO CA this weekend, and it was all anyone could talk about. Someone at my knit night worried aloud how they would drive in the “snow”. I opened my mouth to explain that it isn’t hard, when the same person exclaimed, “I can’t even drive in the rain!!!11”
    It’s all relative….

  383. I moved to Virginia from further North. I know how to drive in snow. It’s not the end of the world.
    But last week, we had a light dusting of snow overnight. It had been warmer recently enough that although the snow stayed on the ground, grass and trees, it just made the pavement damp. In a few places, the pavement was hard to see through the snow.
    The response of the local people was to close the schools for TWO DAYS!
    The saddest part of the whole thing was that the kids couldn’t even go sledding or make snowballs on their snow days because there wasn’t enough snow!
    I’m still trying to recover. Not from the teensy bit of snow, but from the unbelievable overreaction to it!

  384. To be fair though… Southwestern Ontario closed down when the weather man predicted 20-30 cm of snow in one day.
    I’m in Edmonton and we had over 60 cm over the course of two days and NOTHING closed here. Edmonton doesn’t typically remove snow from residential streets in the winter either – drivers just deal with it.

  385. The ice and snow is one of my favorite things about living in North Carolina. I can drive perfectly well in it, but I don’t cuz I don’t have to. And considering we share snow plows with the surrounding states (i think it’s the ones that touch us as well as the next ones out), LOTS of secondary roads don’t get clear. Those secondary roads typically have ditches on either side and very little shoulder, so if you slide, you may very well find yourself ass up in a ditch with shoddy cell service. And that’s a no-go. Literally.
    heh… chains on tires… I’ve never even seen that in real life.

  386. We don’t even make the news when our temps drop to 30 below F here in Wyoming. But it sure makes for great conversation starters when you get into milder climates.

  387. Great to read all the “wintery” comments! I recall growing up in the 1960s in the Chicago suburbs. Girls were not allowed to wear pants to school unless it was -20F (and that was without the wind chill factor). My students here in sunny Tucson always gasp because (1) that is really cold to us, and (2) females were not allowed to wear pants to school…
    One last comment: I often think of our summer as our “winter” season, in that it is an extreme time of year. It is not really considered “hot” here when the temp is in the high 90s. We who love this area and live here year-round have strategies for dealing with the heat and sun (I have literally felt my skin burning after 10 minutes in the sun), and look at the extreme heat with a sense of humor. For example, each year on the first day it hits +100F, we say that the ice breaks on the Rillito (local “river” that is a dry “wash”/river bed most of the year). And when the summer rains come, everyone breathes in the scent of the desert… Ahhh…

  388. hah! i know exactly what you mean. i just returned to sunny and breezy san francisco after a week in -20C alberta. when people here say it’s cold, i just smile. but as my grandmother used to say, it’s a damp cold! 😉

  389. I haven’t read the comments. I appologize if I am the umpteeth person from the Pacific North-West to say:
    I hope Tina let you drive in it for a while.
    I grew up in the interior of British Columbia where we had snow from at least November to March. (One memorable year it was October to April, but that was an aberation.) Three to five feet of snow on the ground mid-winter and 6 foot snowbanks.
    Now I live in the GVRD (ummmm now Metro Vancouver) where we do not really get snow; that white stuff is grease. Then it freezes. Whether grease or ice, there is no gravel in it, and everyone has all season tires, and don’t know how to drive, and it is a disaster.
    Tina is a wize woman. But I totally get the crazyness of it. Totally.

  390. I apologize if someone else has already said this — 400+ comments up already — but this kind of thing really grates on me, and so I feel it must be said: NOT ALL OF CANADA GETS COLD WEATHER AND LARGE AMOUNTS OF SNOW. In the adjacent/nearby areas to western Washington state, e.g. the Lower Mainland (containing a rather large city called Vancouver) and southern Vancouver Island (Victoria), such weather conditions are also a) unusual and b) chaos-inducing. Are you saying we’re not Canadian?!?

  391. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over this past week, the newscasters were explaining that in order to have snow 1. it had to be cold enough, 2. there had to be precipitation, and 3. if the snow was to accumulate, the ground had to be cold enough. Yup. On the news. In conjunction with what is happening in New Zealand and Libya.
    For the record, it did snow in many areas close by, down to near sea level. We didn’t get snow here on the Santa Rosa plain, but St Helena and the Geysers have had snow for the past week. I’ve never seen it last longer than a couple of days up in the hills.
    Pretty as a postcard and as close to the white stuff as I ever want to get again. I’m still limping from the car accident on black ice 28 years ago. Having grown up in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, I know what it is to live in the stuff. Then I left snow country for good. Don’t want to have to cope with it or the crazy drivers who don’t know how to drive in it and haven’t the sense to stay home.

  392. Living in AK it’s hard to imagine things coming to a screeching halt with a little snow or ice build-up. It just doesn’t happen. My friends tell me that I am crazy to live here. I have to agree with Juti from WY, we get tons of snow every year and deal with zub-zero temps all winter and nary a word on the news. It’s all about being prepared (or at least the best you can be) and taking your time driving.

  393. Yes, worldview shifts. I’m a teacher and today was working with another teacher who hailed from Australia. As we worked on math curriculum, she commented on how lucky Canadians were when it came to integers – as we actually had real life experience of negative numbers like -20 degrees below zero. Another reason to be a proud Canadian.
    I have the steel wool scarf too – but am only knitting it slowly. How are you wrangling the spools of yarn? I’m not good at this.
    Also, I loved deciphering the Japanese pattern. Brief – but lovely and logical. I’m looking forward to seeing your sweater. Sounds intriguing.

  394. lolz. Here in Santa Barbara, Califoria (about 2.5 hours drive north of L.A.), we had our local airport shut down a couple years ago for half a day (all flights in or out cancelled) because the rainstorm we were expecting was supposed to generate rain totals in excess of 1/2″ PER HOUR OH MY GOD! : ) Ended up barely sprinkling that night.

  395. This makes me so happy! I’ve lived in Alberta my whole life but just moved to Grande Prairie this year and I have NEVER seen so much snow or cold. I guess it goes both ways!
    In the school I work at, there are government-made posters about what kids should do when they see a moose in the schoolyard.

  396. Dearest Harlot,
    As a live-long resident of the west coast, I must say we don’t get snow very often, so we don’t really know how to drive in it. We didn’t even have enough snow equipment until the Olympics last year. Ironically, our new skytrain line didn’t even run properly in the first snow – and it was built for the Winter Olympics.
    I live in New Westminster, and there is not a single flat, straight road in the entire city. If it freeze, then thaws, then freezes again, my city is like one big skating rink.

  397. Dearest Harlot,
    As a live-long resident of the west coast, I must say we don’t get snow very often, so we don’t really know how to drive in it. We didn’t even have enough snow equipment until the Olympics last year. Ironically, our new skytrain line didn’t even run properly in the first snow – and it was built for the Winter Olympics.
    I live in New Westminster, and there is not a single flat, straight road in the entire city. If it freeze, then thaws, then freezes again, my city is like one big skating rink.

  398. 28 degrees?! Where is my short-sleeved shirt!!! I may not be a Canadian but I am a New Englander so I soooo get where you are coming from. We would never have let the house this winter if we used those standards.

  399. Thank you for the informative post and comments. I had been under the impression that most Canadians were polite. It’s a great comfort to me to realize that about the same percentage of those to the north of us are rude and intolerant of anyone or anyplace that has different conditions and experiences as there are in the U.S.

  400. Eh, reminded me of my only and one experience with snow in Florence. Two centimetres, in the plus temperatures, resulting in traffic gone havoc. A winter after, of which I don’t have firsthand experience, they had half a metre and that gets beyond my imagination indeed.
    To Vicki of March 1, 0345 of blog time: please point me to Steph’s rudeness and intolerance, I fail to locate it. Or you consider that hint of irony and some humour to be rude and intolerant?

  401. I apologize to Stephanie, she did say that she understood the problem of no equipment and inexperienced drivers. I meant to target the commenters, some of whom not only expressed disbelief that people could be so foolish as to be leery of driving under conditions that they aren’t used to, but actually called them names. My fingers don’t always type exactly what is in my mind.

  402. I hear ya’. I met my now husband 20 years ago in a “snowstorm” in London. I kept looking around, trying to find all that snow; meanwhile the weatherpeople were referring to it as the “Great Blizzard”. The whole city shut down for days. Total accumulation: two and a half inches. It’s a wonder we survived.
    Where we now live, the schools don’t call a snow day for less than 8 inches and 10 degrees below F. The in-laws are scared to visit (tee-hee).

  403. I live in South Carolina & grew up in Florida. Even I think it’s funny that we can’t handle snow & ice well at all, but we are just completely unequipped for it since it doesn’t happen much. Think about what would happen if Toronto, Newfoundland, or upper New York State had 100F+ temperatures a week at a time several weeks one summer, and add smoke pollution from the resulting wildfires. Travel wouldn’t shut down, but many residents would have no idea how to handle it, and there would be all the advisories to check on elderly neighbors, schools might close if they don’t have really good A/C, sporting events might be postponed. Here, we gripe a little and go on with our lives. I find the whole thing (both ends of the spectrum) pretty hilarious. There’s something to be said for “world view”.

  404. I live in Georgia and when it snows (or there is even a forecast of snow) Georgians deal with it as if the apocalypse is coming. In all fairness to us though; we have no snow plows and are completely unequipped to handle it, especially if it’s a big snowstorm.

  405. A shout-out here from Washington, DC, which doesn’t seem to have been mentioned (I skimmed the comments). We are pathetic! I grew up only a few hours north of here, in New York, but have always been amazed by the way every snow flurry in DC is treated like a full-fledged blizzard and every actual snowstorm (and we do get at least one most years) creates total havoc as if it had never been seen before. The usual explanation–that despite the northern-ish climate this is a city mostly inhabited by Southerners–is only partly convincing. I remember during a “winter storm watch” in the 1990s, when the entire government and all the school systems had shut down, my SO and I were watching the breathless coverage of East Coast weather on TV. The newscaster said excitedly that in Boston, they had had TEN INCHES of snow, about twice what we’d gotten. He was standing in Kenmore Square, talking about the horrendous snowfall and the attendant disaster and shutdown and harm to the economy. Unfortunately, behind him it was possible to see a steady flow of traffic and pedestrians going calmly about their regular day.

  406. It’s true about the ice. Seattle has a lovely, temperate climate where the ground doesn’t freeze. Thus, when the cold snow hits the warm ground it freezes almost instantly. And, the entire city is made up of 6 degree grades on their hills, and lots of bridges required to get over all the large bodies of water. I grew up at 7,000 feet, in a mountainous region, and watched LOTS of transplanted midwesterners slide all over the streets of Seattle because they scoffed at that ‘tiny bit of snow’. I generally walked to my local Irish pub and watched people slide around all day, whilst drinking Guinness. Happy Days. I loved snow days in Seattle.

  407. Amongst all these comments, I am surprised that no one has sung the glory of the Pacific Northwest reaction to snow. I grew up in Olympia and the moment there was even a dusting, school was cancelled, no one went to work, and we spent the entire day idyllically making snowmen and drinking hot chocolate. Sure, it shows our weakness to winter, but maybe we just understand the pleasure of giving in to the season once and a while. I did my master’s at Boston University and would regularly awaken to four to six inches of snow on the ground. Excitedly I would call the school’s emergency hotline, anticipating a day free from responsibility and endless hours to knit. School was never cancelled. Literally, not once. Even when we had a blizzard. While standing outside waiting for the bus in -10 degree weather with a scarf wrapped around every part of my head possible, I thought longingly of snow days and a part of the nation that revelled in its inability to function below 32 degrees. Perhaps everyone in the Northwest has unconsciously agreed to be terrible drivers in snow and ice, thereby allowing us multiple unintended holidays that can always be blamed on other’s inabilities. I salute this response to winter. Long live the snow day.

  408. When I moved to Nashville, I found out that they salt three days before it snows but don’t salt after the snow, cancel schools at the thought of snow (so even if it doesn’t snow kids miss school because it was canceled before the storm did or did not hit), and the most confusing to me: People lift up their windshield wipers on their cars so that they stick straight up and the cars look like bugs. I am unsure of the purpose of this.

  409. “People lift up their windshield wipers on their cars so that they stick straight up and the cars look like bugs. I am unsure of the purpose of this.”
    As a native Nashvillian…
    I couldn’t tell you. I’ve never heard of that, nor known anyone to do it. Perhaps they think the wipers will freeze to the windshield? I’d be afraid something would end up breaking off my wiper arm.

  410. Ah, everything really is relative, isn’t it? Einstein was right.
    I went to college in Massachusetts after growing up in the Southwest, and the first winter I was miserable, but then I got used to it. Now I live in California, and I’m not used to any weather at all. When 90% of your year happens between 68 and 72 Fahrenheit, 45 deg feels very cold, even though when I lived in MA, as soon as it got up to 40 deg after winter it was shirtsleeve weather, and I did that at the time. So much is what you’re used to, and what you have experience driving in.
    I do have to say, I love that first Monday after the time change, when LA drivers have to drive home…in the dark! And have forgotten how. 🙂 In our defense, there are so many cars on the road that we’re almost always teetering on the edge of a car accident, so anything that throws us off even a little bit can have really bad results.
    I drive past at least one car accident a week, and there’s a place where two freeways cross that gets 300,000 cars coming through it *every day*. And I drive past at least one “carbeque” (car on fire by the side of the road) a year. (The fact that there’s a word for that is kind of a hint that it happens a lot, I guess.) And then there’s the driving through the smoke from a brush fire. So SoCal driving has its own challenges, even without any real weather. 🙂

  411. We do have it rough here in Vancouver.
    Snow in Vancouver!
    Chilled Vancouver commuters faced their second day of winter hell today, as an additional centimetre of the peculiar white stuff fell, bringing the lower mainland to its knees and causing millions of dollars worth of damage to the marijuana crops. Scientists suspect that the substance is some form of frozen water particles and experts from Saskatchewan are being flown in. With temperatures dipping to the almost but not quite near zero mark, Vancouverites were warned to double insulate their lattes before venturing out.
    Vancouver police recommended that people stay inside except for emergencies, such as running out of espresso or biscotti to see them through Vancouver’s most terrible storm to date. The local Canadian Tire reported that they had completely sold out of fur-lined sandals.
    Drivers were cautioned to put their convertible tops up, and several have been shocked to learn that their SUV’s actually have four wheel drive, although most have no idea how to use it.
    Weary commuters faced soggy sushi, and the threat of frozen breast implants. Although Dr. John Blatherwick, of the Coastal Health Authority reassured everyone that most breast implants were perfectly safe to 25 below, down-filled bras are flying off the shelves at Mountain Equipment Co-op.
    “The government has to do something,” snarled an angry Trevor Warburton. “I didn’t pay $850,000 for my one bedroom condo so I could sit around and be treated like someone from Toronto.

  412. Somehow I missed reading this post before the next one.
    I have lived in the DC metro area, Philadelphia, and Columbus, OH. Oh, there was one year as a kid in Los Angeles.
    Trust me when I say US drivers, anywhere south of perhaps Boston, have no idea how to drive in snow, or what to do on ice. Unfortunately, the truly terrified or clueless do not stay home. The real problem on the roads is the other drivers. Somehow, I did not inherit the gene that rushes out to stock up on 3 weeks of food at the first snowflake, or panics in driving in it. Maybe because my parents always had several days of at least some sort of food in the house, didn’t think we’d die without milk, and because they weren’t afraid of driving in any kind of weather.
    I will note that there are some kinds of ice that are not driveable, but I will also note that I think people follow too closely even on dry pavement, and they think ‘slow down’ means about 2 mph slower. However, where they don’t have enough snow to warrant appropriate road gear, the hazard rises exponentially – again from the other drivers. Beware.

  413. Judging by the lack of traction on the soles of my LaCanadienne boots (2 different pairs), you all know a lot about snow but not much about ice.

  414. I had to laugh when I read this post. I grew up in the pacific nw and now live in the mountains of colorado.

  415. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Last week we had so much ice that it knocked out the power and I DROVE for an HOUR to my SIL’s place so we could stay the night where there was heat. Yeah, shift the world view. 28 degrees. A couple of weeks ago when it was in the negatives (farenheit negatives at that) here I wonder what they would have said about that?

  416. Oddly enough, in the desert people don’t take the weather seriously enough when they are inexperienced. In the normal desert fierce heat they don’t realize how much water they are losing because sweat evaporates before they are aware of it and dehydrate quickly. They don’t realize that wind storms carry sand and can obscure your vision in a vehicle completely for minutes at a time. When the rare rain comes and hammers down in a normal cloudburst the water will not be absorbed but floods the low places and can move your car for you if you don’t get to high ground. Most important, they drive out into the desert without water for themselves or their vehicles, don’t realize that very distant things appear close in a desert and that they can get disoriented quickly. It is a wise person who listens to the locals when they say something is dangerous there. Whatever the reasons may be, they are probably correct for their home turf.

  417. I hear your pain. I live in Alaska and have been stuck in Portland, OR several times due to “SEVERE WEATHER”. OK, the ice storms are bad. Black ice is dangerous and easy to under estimate. It is imposible to de-ice a plane if there is falling freezing rain. I do get all of this.
    But all 3 will prempt all show to cover “the weather”. That is the part I cannot handle. My relatives will watch this “news” coverage of the weather ALL DAY. If you look out the window, it is no longer NEWS!

  418. You know, I’m a Californian. It’s just a given that I don’t want to drive in snow since I’ve been in it only six times in my life. One of my friends at a Southern California college was from NH and by the end of four years, he was putting on a coat to go out in 50 degree (F) weather. It’s all what your used to.

  419. You know, I’m a Californian. It’s just a given that I don’t want to drive in snow since I’ve been in it only six times in my life. One of my friends at a Southern California college was from NH and by the end of four years, he was putting on a coat to go out in 50 degree (F) weather. It’s all what you’re used to.

  420. Howdy, new reader here. I’m a Montana native who landed in New Jersey via Germany. The endless DRAMARAMARAMA about winter weather amuses me, too. The threat of Those Other Drivers is real. People here forget how to drive in the cold every single year. It’s ridiculous.

  421. ROFL! I’ve lived in WI my WHOLE life and weathermen wigging out about 28 degrees just makes me laugh. In WI, we call 28 dgrees F in the winter, a heat wave! If the sun is shining, it’s not too windy and it’s 28 degrees, it feels warm.
    Of course, lots of temperatures are much nicer than 28, but in the north, in the winter, you take what you can get.

  422. I’m sitting in an airport right now, about to pull out my knitting. That makes me think of you. I am traveling for 5 days and have more yarn with me than clothes. That also makes me think of you. 🙂

  423. Hahaha! I know what you’re talking about. I recently moved from northern Virginia to Wisconsin. In VA we all went scurrying to the store to buy up all the milk and toilet paper, if there was even a flake of snow in the forecast. Here in WI anything less than 4in (~10cm) is shrugged off entirely, and amounts greater than that will cause some grumbling, but everyone slogs to work and through their day. I’m lucky enough to take the bus to work, since I don’t know how to drive in snow. My husband, who grew up here, can drive in any amount just fine. On deserted roads he pulls the emergency brake and spins the rear of the car around for FUN! I try not to shriek too loudly. 🙂

  424. We wouldn’t take out a plow or sanding truck or anything for 5 inches where I live..we would just drive on it and pack it down. 🙂
    And that amount, where it’s going to melt within a day or two, would be very unlikely to even consider taking out a plow or whatever.

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