I remember the first time I saw snow. I was living in Santa Clara, California at the time. I woke up to the sound of neighborhood children yelling, “It’s snowing!!” I looked out the window and sure enough big flakes were falling and lightly coating the cars parked in the apartment complex parking lot. I was thrilled. My sisters and I rolled out a tiny snowman on top of our station wagon, and throw a few snowballs at each other. Of course, it had all melted by lunchtime.
The second time I saw snow was a few weeks after we moved to Oregon. My parents hollered at my sisters and me, “You’re late for school,” and we quickly dressed and rushed outside to catch the bus, when we saw the ground all covered in white. School was cancelled and we spent the next couple of days playing in the snow. We saw 8 inches of precipitation, followed by a deep freeze. Across from the apartment building, was a large pond, and it froze over and we walked across the ice-covered water. I could not help but sing, “Walking in a winter wonderland,” as we frolicked along. Today, I realize how dim-witted it was to walk across the ice, in view of the fact that we had no clue how thick the ice was, and could have easily fallen through.
Since then I have seen snow storms come and go, from light dusting to a foot or more. My favorite storm was the storm we had in 2008. We received over a foot of snow and then it froze, leaving snow in the area for over a week. It was nice, because usually when we see snow it melts the next day with warmer temperatures coming in right behind the storm. This time the snow stayed with us and they roads were passable, because the cool temperatures keep the roads frozen. I’m the type though that when the weatherman says snow it had better be a ‘snowpocalypse’ or don’t bother. This was the perfect mix, lots of snow and it stayed!!
However, it drives me crazy with the ‘holier than thou’ types say Seattleites can’t drive in two inches of snow and how we need to live in New York or Chicago to see real snow. I just want to ring people’s necks. They just do not have a clue. Seattle snow is different. It is a wet, heavy snow, not powdery and dry. In addition, the colder the temperature is the better traction you have on snow and ice, because there is little or no water present. At temperatures close to freezing, which it is here in the Seattle area some of the snow is melting, and the film of water created acts like grease. This reduces the friction between car tires and the road. Therefore, it does not matter if you have new tires, it does not matter if you have experience or drive a four-wheel drive—you will slip and you will slide. The snow is wet and at night, the snow freezes to the road, turning the hills of Seattle into an ice skating rink.
Coming home the other night, after taking my parents to the airport, I was stuck in a nasty snowstorm. It was whiteout conditions, fresh heavy, wet snow coated the roadway, and there was no snow plows in sight. I drove painfully slow and apologized to the drivers behind me. Really, I did not want to be out in it any more than they wanted to be behind me. Then, I saw a state trooper spin out in front of me and end up in a ditch, I was white knuckled the rest of the drive home. Yes, I love the snow, but I sure do not love driving in it. This week, we saw a wintery mix of weather; the first two storms left only a dusting of snow, followed by three inches one morning and another twelve inches the next morning. Today, we woke up to freezing rain. The boys have not been to school and Ed has not been at work all week.
Now that I have had my fun, I am ready for the drizzle again, until next year when I can’t wait for the next snowstorm.