Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Snow Hysteria

Lucy and I are getting ready to high-tail it to FL for three weeks for what has become our annual "Grandparents Tour". We planned on leaving B&E (Oh-Dark-Thirty) tomorrow and drive straight through to our first stop with Grandpa and Grandma B in Ocala. It really isn't an awful drive; it takes a little less than 10 hours (accounting for stopping for gas, rest areas, etc.) Leaving mid-week means there is little traffic to speak of; the worst part of the drive is going through Georgia because they are ALWAYS doing road construction (and they NEVER seem to finish, either). The first year we made the trip was the first time I'd taken Lucy anywhere for any long period of time in the car. As I wasn't sure how she'd do, I made an RSVP at a Red Roof Inn (pet-friendly) in Jacksonville. This was ok, but, we really didn't need to do that (plus I don't like staying in motels by myself, even with a dog for a companion) so the following year, we went straight through and it was not bad at all.

The monkey-wrench in our plans is the weather man is forecasting snow in our general area. This exact same thing happened last year and I recall that I couldn't decide whether or not to delay my trip by one day (last year the issue was icy roads/black ice). It ended up that I left on schedule and just drove more traveled roads to get to the interstate than I usually would have and we were fine.

So, here we are again with snow looming in our future. This being The Triangle, they change the forecast every thirty minutes, it seems. First, it was snow Wednesday morning. Then, it was rain and snow Tuesday, no snow Wednesday (but a chance of icy roads if the temperature dropped Tuesday night below freezing). Then again, if you don't like what you are reading/hearing, switch to another source and you'll get something completely different. Frankly, I believe this confusion is what starts to cause what I have penned "snow hysteria", because not knowing what exactly you're going to deal with is scarier than knowing; I mean, if the forecast called for a blizzard, and the forecast could be trusted to be right, I wouldn't be happy about it, but at least I'd know I'd have to either leave NOW or delay my trip a few days. No biggie, IF YOU KNOW.

BTW, I guess I didn't really come up with "snow hysteria". I just Googled it and found several definitions out there, here are a few funny ones (and generally what I had in mind!) http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=snow%20hysteria

The other aspect that adds to the general hysteria is how other people deal with it. My brother and his family also planned to leave to drive to FL (Sarasota) tomorrow morning. They have two small children and have to drive about 2 1/2 hours longer than I will. When the snow buzz started, we began exchanging emails about if driving plans would now change. I wasn't inclined to change my plans, but, they changed THEIRS (they are now leaving this afternoon) so that got me to wondering if there was something I should be more concerned about.

So, just in case, I ran around yesterday cramming all of my two days worth of to do stuff into one day. I guess a good thing about this was it forced me to get off my butt, stop dithering about it, and pack. Mr. B came home and loaded up the SUV (minus a few things, like me and Lucy) so, if I get totally caught up in the hysteria (or, if the forecast does appear to reliably change such that I think I'd be better off leaving this evening and driving 2 or 3 hours to the NC border), I can leave. Not that I want to.

The thing is, I lived in Colorado Springs for almost four years. The years I was there we had several BLIZZARDS. We wouldn't close the office down unless there was several FEET of snow (as in, 24 inches). I routinely drove a sedan (that did not have all-wheel drive) without any real difficulty and knew that, if I got stuck going up a hill and couldn't get traction, to get out and throw cat litter under the rear tires. I once did a 180 degree turn on my way to work one morning and, after I righted myself, went on my merry way to work. In other words, there was no hysteria. And, I know my family and friends from climes such as NY and MI find the whole French Toast Factor here in the South simply mind-boggling (and amusing). Not that there isn't this same factor in other places, it usually takes more than 1" of predicted snow fall to set it off, though!

French Toast Factor = When there is an inkling of snow, everyone runs to the grocery store and wipes out the entire storage of bread, milk and eggs. Oh, and bottled water.

I know a large part of it here in NC is that we don't typically get "bad" weather. So, the cities around here are not prepared to deal with it when we do, which is what causes the majority of the problems. That, and people don't know how to drive in the snow (generally speaking) so part of the reason you want to stay off the road is because of this (once again, that whole "can't control it/predict it so it's damn scary" factor).

As of 9:30 am on Tuesday, I am still undecided as to what I'll end up doing. The paper says for today, "Don't sweat the snow; it won't last long" and for tomorrow, "Mostly cloudy" (nothing about any snow). However, I subscribe to weather alerts and the National Weather Service (probably my best bet for a reliable source) indicates a winter weather advisory starting at 9:00 pm tonight and going through noon tomorrow. It says there will be snow tonight, some accumulations, but the roads should be ok UNLESS the temperatures drop more than they think they will.

This is how I end up where I am now. In a quandary. I don't think I'm hysterical; I just don't want any problems.

As of now, I'm still thinking I'll leave in the morning.

But that may change!

Mrs. B


Jon said...

I agree about the road construction in Georgia. 30+ miles of one lane traffic? What are they thinking?

Mrs. B said...

You know what, Jon? ZERO construction in GA yesterday. I got to FL and thought maybe I'd somehow slept thru GA!


Analee said...

snow or no snow, i'm sure glad we split up the drive into 2 days. i think my butt has a 10 hour driving/riding limit. sarasota is too far for 1 day; fort knox is just past it. we ended up splitting up the drive back too - it made a WORLD of difference. not only with us, but with the kids. they don't complain much about a 6 to 8 hour drive!

we decided for sure to split up the drive to the family reunion. both ways.

Mrs. B said...

I am definitely taking two days to drive to IN in September. Maybe we should coordinate so we can stay in the same town!