Thursday, March 01, 2007

February went out like a lion and March...?

Yesterday morning it began to snow hard, so hard, in fact, that I called the parishioner I planned to visit and left a message that I felt I shouldn't brave the weather to get to his place several miles away. Very shortly thereafter, the snow stopped and I went to visit him anyway. The roads were clear going down but suddenly, as I came back home, the snow started up again, this time pelting down much more heavily, and by the time I got home, it had started to stick.

I felt I'd really dodged a bullet and was puttering around the house, doing this and that, when a knock came at the door. It was one of my parishioners who lives not far from me and she was stuck on the road at the bottom of my driveway. So she used the phone to call her spouse for a snow shovel (I don't have one) and left in a few minutes to meet him.

The dangerous thing about western Washington snow is that it is very wet. Living in Colorado, I wasn't so at the mercy of the elements. Rocky Mountain snow is dry and fluffy with a low moisture content. Driving on a Colorado snow-packed road isn't the same kind of thing it is here.

I remember learning that lesson when my spouse and I came to visit my family over Christmas vacation one year and decided to go to Mt. Hood to ski. He, being the experienced Colorado snow driver, got a little too confident and we skidded straight into a snowbank on our way to the mountain.

But I'd forgotten the lesson by the time I moved to Portland and the first snow on the ground quickly reminded me, as my trusty little front-wheel-drive radial-tired Toyota slid helplessly down a sloped parking lot in a couple of inches of slush.

Last night's TV news featured a pileup of dozens of vehicles on Snoqualmie Pass, which is Interstate 90 and the chute between eastern and western Washington. "Chute" it was, as freezing conditions made the road a skating rink and every car on the road did a panicky back-pedal, to no avail, upon cresting one particular hill and observing the melee on the other side.

Fortunately, few were seriously injured but the road was closed for several hours.

Coloradans I've known scoff at Northwesterners' seeming inability to handle the snow. They ridicule our shutting down schools over two inches of snow. "Heck," they chortle, "we don't close schools here unless it's two feet deep and windy!"

Yes, indeedy, they chortle----until they experience the snow from hell, one inch of packed slush virtually impervious to de-icer and sand. And then they're the ones in the SUV ricocheting wildly off the jacknifed semis in the median.

Anyhow, February went out like a lion and this morning, this March 1 morning, the sun is out and we are sparkling under blue skies. We pays our dues, we gets our rewards!

1 comment:

LinguistFriend said...

Ah, what memories of snow in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Iowa, the places I have lived where they have real snow of both sorts! Wet in Mass., often, and dry in Iowa and Vt., mostly. Ours in NW OH is melting and I will miss it. But it has been present in a time when I have had large amounts of extra work to do, so I lost time over it. It is of course a bad sort of exercise, but at least it got me out doing things. Take care.