Writers Workshop: Oh No, Snow!

Snow is generally not a big issue here in the South, although we do get some, maybe once a year, but not every year. I don’t think we’ve had any in a couple of years, which makes me worry that we’re really in for a piling on this year. If it gets heavy enough, or if we get ice instead of snow, it could knock the power out. So far, we’ve been lucky: all our electrical lines are underground, so we don’t have problems as a rule; still, the ones that carry the electricity to our subdivision are above ground, and if those go out, we’re plunged into darkness.

When it snows here, we stay home and stay warm and wait for it to melt. Our house faces north, and during the winter the sunlight is blocked by the house. Consequently, I’m stuck in the house until it melts, which can be a week or more after the snow fell. Mary gets out there with buckets of hot water, but that doesn’t work as well as you might hope. Ideally, we get calcium chloride, known as the "thirsty chemical," and sprinkle it on the steps. As it absorbs the water, it heats up, making the snow melt faster.

Considering where we came from (Chicago), winters here are nothing. As a rule, the temperatures here don’t drop below 0° Fahrenheit (-18° Celsius, or centigrade, if you prefer), and there might be a couple of days of snow. In Chicago, daytime highs of -10° to -20° F (-23° to -29° C) are normal, with some very wicked winds. Lake Michigan stays warm most of the winter, leading to lake-effect snow, with warm, moist air over the lake colliding with dry, cold air coming from the west. The further inland you go, your chances of snow drop off considerably. It can be snowing in the Loop and perfectly dry four or five miles inland. The rest of the city gets snow from fronts (cold, warm, stationary and occluded) that pass through.

I understand that more people die during the winter than the summer, mostly because of the exertion of trudging through the snow and shoveling it. It’d be nice if it would stay warmer during the winter…

22 thoughts on “Writers Workshop: Oh No, Snow!

  1. I have a runner friend who lives in Chicago and she runs all winter long like an insane person. It looks absolutely miserable in there. I think you did well to swap states!


  2. In Nashville in the seventies…we had snow every winter and usually around 3-4 times. I would miss around a month at school every year because an inch shuts Nashville down. Now…it might snow once a year.
    I was in Atlanta a few years back… 2014 I believe and ice was on it’s way…I got stuck at Mount Eagle Mountain and had to stay at a hotel.


  3. H John – thankfully no snow here – just buckets of rain and flooded roads … but we do need the rain. I hope things sort themselves out and you’re not snowed in! Cheers Hilary


  4. From Virginia to Florida to Ohio to Texas to Ohio to Virginia to Alaska to Maine to Florida and now North Carolina, I have seen snow everywhere except Florida. I like it for a day or two and then it can get on its merry way.


    1. The first time I went to Texas was to San Antonio. I was chatting with an attractive young bartender who told me “it never snows here.” Six months later, San Antonio was buried under snow. I’ve also been in Dallas after an ice storm. You’re about as good with the now and ice as we are. One good thing in Texas is that it’s flat…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The reason why I love our area, John, is the weather is moderate through the 4 seasons. Since we live in an apartment complex, we don’t have to shovel snow. That’s a plus for us older folks.


    1. That’s true. Summer can be a bit brutal, but on the whole the weather is friendly here, and I like not having to shovel snow. We just stay in until it goes away, which usually takes less than a week.


    1. We had friends in Watertown, and they would regularly get buried under snow. What helped with February was that we had holidays on Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthday (Illinois being the “Land of Lincoln” and all that), but still, it seemed to go on FOR-EV-ER….

      Liked by 1 person

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