January 28, 2014

Snow! Explaining the Southerner's Response

A True Snow in 2011.  All Rights Reserved.
It started snowing about five hours ago.  Before any accumulation, before most could even see the light, scattered drifting snow, people in my area started updating their Facebook statuses:  We've got snow!


If you don't live in the Southeastern part of the US, you probably don't get our frenzy.  It makes no sense, afterall, you live with snow most of the winter.  What's the big deal? Why can't we drive?   Why do we buy out the bread and milk?  Why do the schools close?

Let me explain.


Why can't we drive in the snow?
We can drive in the snow. We can't drive on ice, and we get ice.  It's rare that the white stuff falling from the sky is snow (although today it appears to be a wet snow).  It's usually sleet or freezing rain.  During the day, it melts, and at night it refreezes into this horrid thing called black ice.  You can't see it! It blends in well with the snow, or if the roads are clear, it just looks like a wet spot on the road until you hit it.  Since we rarely get any frozen precipitation, most people don't own tire chains or snow tires, and they have NO IDEA how to operate heavy machinery on it.  Yes, today it's snow, but it's wet.  Tonight it will become ice.

Why do the schools close?
When I was a kid, we didn't have snow plows except for in the very large cities.  These days most cities and towns plow the roads but only the main roads.  Most people live on small two lane roads with curves, dips, and lots of shadey areas where the sun and plows don't reach.  These roads turn into huge sheets of glass.  School buses can't be trusted on glass.  Let's just close and have a holiday!

Why do grocery stores sell out of milk and bread when the forecast calls for snow?
One loaf left. Oh no!
 I hate nothing more than to actually be out of milk or bread on one of these dreaded forecast days. 
The truth is, our snows usually last a day or two.  I know, stop laughing. And, yes, if you can get out of your neighborhood to a main road, you can get to a grocery store.  BUT, on the rare occasions when the roads stay frozen for many days (that means three or more), you have a problem.  People remember those rare times and make a beeline for the bread aisle.  It's what makes us special.

Other points to remember:
Many Southerners don't own snowshoes, snowmobiles, or cross country skis.  Why would we?  Most of us don't even have a sled because it might sit in the garage for years before a true snow comes along. When it snows, we go a little crazy because it's magical.  The world stops, and we get to be kids again...for just a day or two.

So, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go play in the snow.

5 comments:

Vonda Skelton said...

Thank you!

Barbara V. Evers said...

Vonda, little did I know how appropriate this post would be when I published it. Our son is still out in this mess I the Atlanta area. He left work at 2! People are stranded everywhere!

Carol Weeks said...

Well said, Barbara, especially the frenzy at the grocery store. I'm hearing all kinds of stories about people being stranded. A good friend is stranded at a hospital 90 miles away. She has a brand new grandson born yesterday, but she's ready
to come home. Probably won't be able to until tomorrow. Makes me appreciated my nice warm house and beloved recliner even more!

Carol Weeks said...

Well said, Barbara, especially the frenzy at the grocery store. I'm hearing all kinds of stories about people being stranded. A good friend is stranded at a hospital 90 miles away. She has a brand new grandson born yesterday, but she's ready
to come home. Probably won't be able to until tomorrow. Makes me appreciated my nice warm house and beloved recliner even more!

Vonda Skelton said...

I got interrupted and didn't get to finish my post, but I wanted to say thank you for explaining that we're not idiots when it comes to snow here in the south! :-)