"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Winter Wonderland?

In an earlier post just last week, I wrote: "It will be my turn to snicker when you have ten feet of snow on the ground and it's 20 below zero." Actually, I'm not chuckling at all, even though this has apparently come to pass much sooner than expected. From the Associated Press:
BISMARCK, N.D. - Broad areas of the Dakotas remained shut down Tuesday by the Plains' first blizzard of the season, with highways closed by blowing, drifting snow and thousands of people without electricity as temperatures hit the low teens.

Five deaths had been blamed on slippery roads in Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. Travelers trying to get home after Thanksgiving had been stranded in hotels, truck stops and churches across the Plains.

The storm was heading toward the Great Lakes on Tuesday after dumping snow as far south as the Texas Panhandle. Utility officials estimated that 50,000 customers were blacked out across eastern South Dakota on Tuesday, and many communities in North Dakota also had no electricity. The morning's low at Grand Forks, N.D., was 14 degrees. Power companies in North Dakota said it could take days to restore power because the storm tore down major transmission lines.

Interstate 94 remained shut Tuesday by poor visibility and icy pavement for about 100 miles across eastern North Dakota from Fargo to Jamestown, and I-29 was barricaded from Fargo to Watertown, S.D., a stretch of about 140 miles. Numerous other highways also remained closed in the Dakotas, as well as eastern Colorado and northwest Kansas.
Here in S.E. Texas, it's in the upper 30's this morning which is considered pretty chilly for this area. We normally get "snow" -- by which I mean white flakes actually visible in mid-air -- about once every other year. Even then, it usually melts as soon as it hits the relatively warm ground. An actual accumulation, where outdoor objects are covered with a discernable white layer, occurs maybe every 5-10 years or so. What's interesting is how everyone here completely freaks out whenever this happens. "Snow! My God, will you look at it!" people say. "Call all the friends and relatives! Take pictures of it! We can throw snowballs! Wow, snow!" The local newspaper then features a front-page photo of some poor, deprived child who has never seen snow before in his life, building a snowman on his front lawn. We need to send these unfortunate disadvantaged children to North Dakota for a couple of weeks in January.

The worst part is drivers with no winter-weather experience attempting to navigate slickened roads. Accident rates soar as cars skid off the road or into each other all over town. With anything more than an inch or two, the entire area shuts down while people hunker in their homes trying to keep their pipes from bursting. Northerners must find this all very strange.

So anyway, today I'm sending my regards to folks up that way who may be able to read this after their power comes back on. I feel your pain. :^)

4 Comments:

  • At 11/29/2005 02:00:00 PM, Blogger Janelle said…

    Don't send regards, send blankets instead made from wool and fleece. :) My parents were supposed to be back from Minneapolis on Sunday and as of today they are still stuck in MN.

     
  • At 11/29/2005 11:20:00 PM, Blogger April said…

    Yeah, the west and the east got it bad, but us here in the middle are okay. a little flurries, but nothing that can stop the UPS guy (you know its bad when UPS shuts down) Thursday it is supposed to be below 0.... and so it begins... *sigh* Oh, I showed my hubby your photoblog and he laughed too, you just crack me up!

     
  • At 11/29/2005 11:20:00 PM, Blogger Brandi said…

    I lived in texas for a total of about two years..Houston and El Paso....give those people even the slightest bit of weather and they go crazy! I'm not sure why they feel the need to speed up when it rains (or snows) but they do! I was always scared to drive when the weather got even a little bad...not fear of my driving (I'm used to it) but of other people. I can't imagine what would happen if they had to drive in the weather that we do! Chaos!!! But I guess I can't pass such a harsh judgement...like you said, it never snows there...but you would think that when the weather goes crazy people would slow down, not speed up!!!

     
  • At 11/29/2005 11:23:00 PM, Blogger April said…

    I remember when I went to college, I would always watch out for license plates that were from anywhere other than ND and MN so I could watch out for them, crazy freakin' drivers!
    Ice + fast = ouch
    Ice + breaks = ouch

     

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