Last week, they started forecasting snow for the weekend. Naturally, no one paid attention to it. This is Seattle. In November. It’s 40 degrees outside. There’s absolutely no way we’re going to get snow. Maybe some flurries over the weekend, but nothing that was going to stick or be worth worrying about. I figured that went double for me, since I didn’t have to be at school until 12:15 on Monday. Even if we did, somehow, get real snow on Sunday night, surely it would be gone by the time I had to head out. I refused to get concerned.
Then we got an hour or so of real flakes on Sunday, and while I still wasn’t too worried (the air temperature was still above freezing, so surely the ground isn’t anywhere near cold enough for it to stick), I said a silent prayer that it wouldn’t last very long because I had a test on Monday. Wimping out of my drive to Tacoma just wasn’t an option. If we had snow that stuck? It could be a very ugly drive, which I just didn’t want to consider. So I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the flakes ended without anything sticking and the flurries started. Flurries never stick. It was all going to be OK.
Of course, I woke up Monday morning to snow on the ground. Apparently we got more real flakes overnight, but there was barely a covering. Not enough snow to get worried about. I headed to the gym like I planned and figured I’d just head down to school from there instead of coming home in between. While I was doing my laps in the pool, though, I spied big, giant flakes falling down from the sky. Crap. Double crap. My plan had been to swim for a half hour or so and then hit the weights for a while, but if there was snow falling? I needed to get on the road ASAP. So I jumped out of the pool, skipped the weights and was showered, dressed and on the road shortly after 10 a.m. I had just over two hours to get to school. Surely that would be plenty of time.
It wasn’t. Some places the roads were legitimately bad and required slowing down to 30 mph or so. However, there were several stretches where speeds were down to 5 mph because a lane was blocked from an accident or… well, for no good reason that I could see. I left the gym at 10. My checkout was at 12:15. I got to campus shortly after 12:30.
Luckily, my professor was very understanding and happily rescheduled my test for the next day. I wasn’t the only one who’d fallen victim to the weather, so I’d even have a partner to work with. Of course, that meant I’d have to be back on campus on Tuesday. It wasn’t supposed to get above freezing, which meant the inch of snow that was on the ground would still be there in the morning. I wasn’t about to deal with another 3-hour trek down to Tacoma, especially not for a 9:30 a.m. class, so I made arrangements to stay with a friend near campus that evening. I honestly hadn’t even considered what my trip home Monday night would have looked like. I was just afraid of the drive down Tuesday morning.
We got another half-inch of snow Monday night, which meant we woke up Tuesday morning to the news that campus was closed and there were no classes. So, it sort of turned out that I’d stayed down there for nothing, but at least I could drive home in broad daylight and not have to worry about it getting dark while I was on the road. I figured it would take me a good 3-4 hours to get home, but I was home in 75 minutes. Just 20 minutes longer than the drive would normally take me. It wasn’t because the roads were in awesome shape – nothing had been salted, and while most of it was just wet there were most definitely some slick spots – but because there was almost nobody on them. I cruised on home around 40 mph with no problems whatsoever.
While I was driving home, though, I heard reports of Monday night’s commute on the radio. It was, in short, hellacious. Thirty minute drives had turned into 6-hour treks, and some people were reporting, no shit, 12-hour trips to get home. I wouldn’t have had it quite that bad, since my afternoon/evening drive is in the opposite direction of most of the traffic, but I’m guessing it would have taken me 4 or 5 hours to get home.
I feel like now is a good time to remind everyone that my commute is about 45 miles each way, and it’s 95% interstate highway. I could walk that in 12 hours, and from what I heard, several people decided to do just that and left their car by the side of the road.
All this because of one inch of snow. An inch. That’s it. Sure, we don’t have salt trucks or plows or the infrastructure to make the roads safe and happy with any snow on them, but I feel like an inch of snow shouldn’t be this much of a disaster, either. I love a lot of things about Seattle, but how it deals with snow? Is not one of them. I was about ready to pimp myself out for a salt truck by the time I got to school on Monday, and the whole thing just really, really made me wish I still lived somewhere that could deal with this kind of weather.
I used to love snow. Love it. Now? It fills me with a complete sense of dread. I’m just hoping that any other snow we get this winter is limited to the four weeks I’m off school for winter break. I refuse to consider the possibility that it could snow during finals week because, quite simply: oh hell no.
On the plus side, if you give college kids an inch of snow? They’ll give you an eight foot tall snowman.
The hat is my favorite part. It’s just brilliant.