Some areas of the US go into a panic at the mere sight of snowflakes in the air. Hordes of frantic people rush into the local groceries stores to stock up on water and other provisions. If there is any accumulation schools and businesses are quickly closed. Traffic jams as everyone rushes home and all scheduled events are cancelled as people huddle at home to ride out the storm.
In my neck of the woods, things are a bit different. Newcomers quickly discover that even though a foot of snow fell, they are expected to show up for work and do their best to show up on time. The stores and other businesses are open although sometimes evening events are cancelled because there is really no sense getting in the way of snowplows if you don't have to.
When I headed out this morning, I noted that there was 3-4 inches of fresh snow on the ground. Already the plows were busy at work, removing snow and depositing salt. I did take it easy on the road which was still covered with a thin layer of snow which could hide icy spots. I passed one unfortunate driver who had spun out across the road and into a snowbank. Thankfully it seemed as if no other vehicles had been involved and there had been no injuries. I carefully continued on to my church where our womens group was meeting. That event had not been cancelled due to the weather. My friend Cynthia and I joined the other women who like us, were dressed for a MN winter. It was a good meeting and it appeared nearly everyone was there.
Later, when I went out to my car, I was glad to see there was only a light dusting of snow on my windshield. I wouldn't have to get out my ice scraper and scrape off the windows but if I'd had to, I was prepared to do so.
After dropping my friend off at her house, I headed for the grocery store which was open though it was not quite as crowded as usual. I usually wait until Thursday to buy groceries but since I was down this way anyway, I decided to get them before I went home.
On my way home I passed two snowplows, one right behind the other one. The first one lowered its blades and made a right turn. The second one followed it, scraping up the snow the first plow had missed. I went straight noting that the plows must have gone through a little while ago as my road was now clear.
Minnesotans often brag about not shutting down for "a little snow" but the truth of the matter is, we don't shut down because we are tough. We don't shut down because we are prepared.
Every town in my area has a snow emergency plan. In my hometown of Minneapolis, there are streets that are designated as "snow emergency routes". These are major roads and bus routes. When a snow emergency is declared (usually before the event actually occurs), all vehicles are to be moved from those routes or the city will move it for you at your expense. This enables the plows to quickly and easily clear those streets. At the same time, all vehicles must park on the same side of the street (odd or even). This enables the plows to clear one side of the rest of the streets after the snow emergency routes have been plowed. The next day, vehicles are moved to the other side of the street in order for the plowing to be completed. Hefty tickets and impound fees are the consequences of having your vehicle parked in the wrong spot. It is wise to heed the snow emergency warnings.
In my own town, where all the homes have driveways and apartments have parking lots, it is always illegal to park on the public streets overnight. When you can get measureable snowfall from late October through early May this actually makes sense and enables the city to be able to clear the streets rather quickly.
Long before winter, plans and preparations are made. Chemicals, salt and sand are purchased according to the worst case scenarios and stored. It would not do to run out of those things in the middle of the winter so it is safer to be over-prepared rather run the risk of running out. Equipment is inspected, repaired or replaced as necessary. Plans are made and put into place. By the time the first snowflakes fall, the Department of Transportation is ready and waiting. It is prepared.
Jesus warns us that we need to be prepared as well. He has told us what to expect and He told us to watch and pray. Are we prepared?
Salt - I believe that this compound wrecks havoc on the undersides of cars particularly when is wet and corrosive, hence cars in your area need to be replaced often I am guessing.
But hey - good blog