Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snowed In

First they predicted a "megastorm" (the Seattle Times's technical meteorological term). Next, the megastorm was downgraded to a bunch of snow: less than a snowpocalypse, but more than a dusting. And then a whole lot of snow fell on a bunch of places, followed by ice pellets and then more snow. Surprise!

The official statistics show that 6.8 inches fell at Sea-Tac (which jibes with our local weather station in the back yard, where my daughter stuck a wooden ruler in the snow on top of the picnic table and measured the depth at 6 inches). Which is nothing compared to the 3 feet that fell in the Cascades.

The streets are very treacherous--Seattle is very hilly, and if you add ice-slicked roads to hills, factor in gravity and lack of friction, and multiply it by stupid drivers, you will quickly figure out the result: cars crunched into other cars, spun out in the middle of streets, and abandoned by the side of the road.

This driver wisely bailed before entering the steep intersection.
Fortunately, nobody in our home had to go anywhere. School was canceled, my husband's workplace shut down, and I work from home.

So when I heard ice pellets pattering against the window in the pearly gray predawn, I snuggled further beneath the duvet; being only half-awake, I felt as if I were a small child again, and that my parents were just a room away, with everything taken care of and nothing to worry about.

Many people had the foresight to prop up windshield
wipers so they didn't freeze to the window, making the cars
look like giant insects. Even better when the car's front
bumper was lined with icicle fangs.
We did head out for many walks, however, and watched people take to the slippery steep streets with sleds, toboggans, skis, big pieces of cardboard, cookie sheets--anything that could be used for sliding down hills.

(The youngest member of the household, free of aches and pains, joined in the downhill free-for-all.)
Cross-country skiiers slipped down the side streets, and even a few snowmobiles were on the road.

The schussing and swooshing continues into the night; the nearby cross street has been shut to traffic and has gone from being a major thoroughfare to a ski slope. Laughter, teasing, whooping, and cheering reverberates late into the night.