So when it snows in Seattle, everything shuts down and anyone with any sense holes up and enjoys a day or two off. It is, arguably, the most aggravating time to live in this part of the world, and you have to treat a snow day in Seattle as you would an anthrax attack, or a zombie apocalypse; you don’t go out.
People from east of the Cascades refuse to believe this reality, and as a rule try to go out and live their same non-snow lives, and as a result they all lose their shit, which the local news media loves, because it helps them fill their 24-hour winter weather coverage. They always manage to blame Seattlites for their own dumbassery.
This was yesterday’s quote, it was on local and national news:
man in a car: It’s because people in Seattle don’t know how to drive. I’m from Chicago, they get more snow than this but everyone knows how to drive.
reporter: so what’s the problem?
man in a car: My car can’t make it up the hill.
How, as a Seattle driver, did I cause that man’s car not to go up the hill? Oh right, he’s a jackass.
Today it was a guy who had run his car into a median:
“all of a sudden, the car in front of me decides to start sliding, what could I do?”
Here’s what you do, chief: you go back in time and make a decision to not frakking tailgate. They flashed his name on the screen, and I had a hunch… so I looked him up on facebook and yes, he was from Florida.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but all those people that they put on the news who are so frustrated because of traffic problems… they are never from here. You never hear them exclaiming “I’m from Tacoma!” or “I grew up in Magnolia!” Of course, we locals get frustrated, too. But we, in contrast, handle it by chaining up, driving slow, avoiding hills… or better yet, staying off the roads. In 24 hours, it will all have melted away anyway.
So here’s how the week went…
Saturday: started snowing. It looked bad enough that I didn’t want to meet my friends on the Eastside, bad enough that they didn’t want to meet me at the Gate.
Monday: Dr. King’s birthday, no school. Slushy snow on the ground. The call to cancel school on Tuesday came in the early afternoon.
Tuesday: Doomsday forecast; meteorologists were predicting a storm of glaciers would form and bulldoze our sorry hamlet halfway to San Francisco. The only problem: there was zero snow on the ground everywhere south of Downtown Seattle. My friends and I actually went on a happy hour crawl through Downtown and South Lake Union. Would they call a snow day when there was no snow on the ground? Admin finally made the call around 8pm: no school Wednesday.
Wednesday: woke up to snow on the ground. The big storm? Didn’t happen. Instead we had a minor snow event, the white and fluffies falling through the morning, and then tapering off through the afternoon. Tomorrow, said the weather folks, is ice storm. Admin finally made the call around 7pm: no school Thursday.
Thursday (today): Oh, there was an ice storm. North Seattle got more snow, but South Seattle, where I am, got snow, freezing rain, freezing temperatures, and solid sheets of ice on every surface. In Olympia, my hometown, the ice was building up on trees, which would then snap under the weight of the ice. It crushed cars, houses… people said that they’d hear gunfire; the sound of a tree snapping every 30 seconds, it sounded like a sniper battle was going on. There was one fatality in south King County; a tree split and fell on a man who was backing out his ATV.
The weather folks had been saying that the rains would start tonight, so I was counting on the big melt. I was hoping that I could go out of Indonesian food. Well, it didn’t happen; they’re saying now that the big melt won’t start until midday tomorrow. Most public schools have already called off classes for Friday, my school is holding out.
I wasn’t scheduled to go into work tomorrow, but it was my plan since last week that I’d spend tomorrow at work, grading papers. Now it seems like even that will be impossible, and with all the snowdays, the two weekends, and Dr. King, we will have had nine consecutive days off of school.
I’ve been really lucky not to have lost electricity–frozen branches are taking out powerlines everywhere, I heard 200,000 households are blacked out, and it will be 3 to 4 days for full restoration. I’ve also been lucky that my heat hasn’t quit, since my heater tends to freeze up and die when I need it the most. Not this time, anyway; knock on wood.
So the big melt happens tomorrow, and by this time tomorrow night everyone will be driving to their little hearts’ content.
UPDATE: They called it, 8pm. No school tomorrow.