OT: Snowmageddon 2018 PSA

Submitted by Hotel Putingrad on February 8th, 2018 at 4:32 PM
Apparently Detroit and Chicago and everywhere in between are slated to get double digit snow accumulation tomorrow. As someone who missed the 70-vehicle I-35 pileup in Ames, IA Monday by barely twenty minutes, I just wanted to pray for you mgobloggers in harm's way. #juststayhome



February 8th, 2018 at 7:33 PM ^

As someone who grew up here in the north and has lived in the south during even the slightest dustings, I can give at least anectdotal evidence that driving in winter conditions in the two areas is a completely different experience.

Without question, when roads ice up and get some snow in the south, the roads are worse to drive on.  I spoke with someone who mentioned that they thought it had to do with the amount of glass in the roads in the south.  It was great for the summer in that the roads did not soak up as much heat, but hell during the few days in the winter where they became slipperier than northern roads.

Take it for what its worth, but be safe.  Or just realize that it's just a little snow, and so really, its not that big a deal.


February 8th, 2018 at 7:53 PM ^

This would make a great discussion, actually. 

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that road conditions are worse than your memory of equivalent snowfalls in the north. Why would that be?

You suggest something about the composition of the road surface itself. Possible, but I'm not so sure; there are a variety of different road surfaces up north as well, and in my experience the road conditions vary more by type of precipitation and treatment than by a particular road surface.

One thing that may be very different is pre-and-post-snow treatment. Northern communities have experience and resources to pre-treat roads and/or treat them quickly after snow falls. We have a cocktail of chemicals on the roads here in Duluth, and it is only when the temperature plunges past zero that those substances lose effectiveness. Their absence could help explain road conditions in the south.

But I suspect the real reason is much simpler: The type of snow that has fallen. There are various kinds, ranging from cold powders that blow away easily to heavy, wet snows that are produced at temperatures much closer to freezing. I'm not an expert at parsing the types, but I've driven a lot of them and there are types of snow I'd rather drive through six inches of than one inch of some others.

In fact, the most frightening moment I had as a school bus driver did not come in a 1-foot violent snowstorm, but in an afternoon where there was an inch of snow closer to freezing. At one point I stopped at the top of a hill, looked to make a turn... and began sliding backwards toward parked cars. I had to throw the bus into reverse and steer out. Not pleasant.

Less than an inch of snow. But there was a slight layer of slush that formed under it and it was like driving on slime. Horrible conditions. That's probably what you're getting in the snow you describe in the South.


February 8th, 2018 at 8:00 PM ^

Going off of your last paragraph, I see some room to agree.  Yes, the driving conditions depend on the kind of snow on the road.  Rather than dismiss my point about road composition, I would suggest at looking at the possible effects of road conditions on the snow that has fallen.  For example, it would be entirely possible that a relatively warmer road surface would reflect more heat and tend to melt the first layers of snow that fall.  And as more falls, you have the conditions you describe.  The snow doesn't fall that way, but that's what you've got on the ground. 

I'm sure wind, humidity, barometric pressure, and a whole host of other factors goes into it.  That said, one of those factors is as described.  And this coming from someone who has lived in Washington state, where they don't salt, but instead sand their roads and expect you to drive on studded tires, Minneapolis, with Alberta clippers raging down from the north, Michigan, of course, and eastern North Carolina.  It's all different.  Of all of them, the south was the worst.


February 8th, 2018 at 4:35 PM ^

Supposed to be 85 all weekend in sunny Florida. Grabbed an airbnb and taking the kids to the beach tomorrow! This place ain't all that bad if you can get past everything other than the weather and no state income tax.

oriental andrew

February 8th, 2018 at 5:45 PM ^

I'll be in Orlando on Saturday... well if my flight back to Chicago Friday gets cancelled.

I was scheduled to fly home this evening, but cancelled. REscehduled onto a midday flight tomorrow, but that's not looking too promising with snow expected to fall non-stop until about 9pm CT. 

Worse places to be stuck, for sure, although I'd rather be snowboarding.


February 8th, 2018 at 10:32 PM ^

SW side has already seen over a foot since last weekend...

I live in the belt where we are the only ones getting hammered while grand rapids and other areas don't get shit..

Then everyone freaking out about a supposed 8 or 9 inches which is total crap. It will snow a couple inches Friday and a few inches Saturday..

Nothing new or cause for concern..


February 8th, 2018 at 5:52 PM ^

I'm with you. Our largest snowfall this "season" came at the end of October. The weather patterns are sending all of the big storms south of us.

But we get a few inches here and a few inches there and it never melts so we have over a foot on the ground and it looks great, so there's that.