Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Comment

My CTY colleague Ryan Fox has reported that in his area of Georgia they closed the schools early yesterday in anticipation of a couple of inches of snow. He said that there was an immediate shortage of bread, eggs, and kerosene in the local stores. Georgia's Snow Response Plan is, apparently (and, logically, since it is such a rare occurrence there), "Go home and wait for it to melt."

Further up the coast in Virginia, where Sammi lives and teaches, there was a two-hour delay in the school openings because they had a couple of inches of snow on the ground. Her area, where they are used to torrential rain and road flooding, seems to have a similar Snow Response Plan as Georgia, "Stay home until it melts." I suppose if they got a really heavy snowstorm, they'd be ready when it melted and flooded the roads.

Meanwhile, here on Long Island, we had maybe an inch of snow on the ground this morning. Nobody seemed to much care and there weren't any problems... unless you count the school bus that stops on the corner near our house being two minutes late.

1 comment:

  1. I can speak to this. I learned how to drive in snow back in my college days in upstate NY, driving sideways on I-787. So I know heavy snow well.

    I've also lived in Austin, TX, and have been in the metro Washington DC area for quite a few years now.

    When I lived in Texas, they really had no equipment to deal with snow; I know when they got a few inches in San Antonio, they had to get out the road graders to move it off the roads. And most people have no experience in driving in snow, so anyone who tries just clogs up the roads, making it dangerous for all, even for a small amount.

    The DC area is somewhat different. Here, the roads are the second worst for traffic congestion is the US, so anything that delays traffic even a little bit results in massive congestion. Small snowstorms will do that, while with bigger ones, some people will at least have sense enough to stay home.

    This area does get some snow every year, but not to the point that the local governments have tons of funding or equipment ready to go. President Obama found out about that early last year when he complained about his daughters' school closing because of what he considered a small amount of snow, but he forgot that he was used to Chicago, where they get snow a lot more frequently, and are able to handle it better (he got a stream of feedback about those comments).

    Keep in mind that we also had a record snowstorm last month the weekend before Christmas; more than 20 inches in many parts. That snow has not completely melted, and there are still many icy spots where the snow melts a little bit, and then refreezes.

    This snow Friday was on top of that ice. It did make it a little unsafe for SOME students to have to walk through. And the school administrators have to be conscious of what ALL the students in their territory have to deal with; it may be fine in one area of a particular county to have school, but not in a more rural area of the same county. And then there's the suit-happy people around here; some kid slipping on the ice going to his bus stop and breaking an ankle can easily end up with a lawsuit against various governmental agencies.

    So, while I do think they were probably a little overcautious with delaying schools this past Friday (I went into work on time myself with no problems), I do understand where they are coming from.