January 24, 2012

Are Seattleites "Snow Wimps?"

Many in the lowlands of Western Washington hope for at least one good snowstorm per winter to break up the rainy doldrums, and to let the kids have some winter fun.

And last week we got it!  Here's how things were looking around my house (about 40 miles north of Seattle)....







With MLK day last Monday, the kids got an entire week off of school. I mean, it just kept snowing. It stayed below freezing for an entire 5 days.

And then a little controversy ensued.

A reporter for the LA Times posted an article calling us wimps! Specifically, "Snow wimps: Seattle is shut down by first real snow of the season". Besides that rude headline, Kim Murphy wrote:
  • Color Seattle clueless. The city has always marched unarmed into its infrequent battles with snow, and Wednesday's snowstorm was no exception.
  • The snowstorm had been forecast to be the worst to hit the Puget Sound region in 30 years, an ominous warning that scared easily scareable Seattleites. 
The kicker to her comments is that she lives in Seattle. The biotch is a backstabber!

Art Thiel of KING5 News wrote a great rebuttall. He pointed out two important points to keep in mind about Seattle snow:
  • No downtown that receives snow is as as hilly as Seattle. Period. The Priniciple of Verticality. There's just too much up here to get down safely.
  • Wet snow doesn't drift. It gets compacted onto road beds and sidewalks. Plowing and salting helps, but 90 percent of the streets in a metro area as large as Seattle will never see a plow or a salting truck. Seattle cement can only wait for warm rain to wash most of it away.
Let me first admit something. I used to harbor similar feelings to Ms. Murphy's when I first moved back here after having lived in Lake Tahoe, which is over 6,000 feet above sea level and gets lots of snow every winter (except this winter, apparently). I graduated from South Tahoe High and you better believe me when I tell you the snow had to get pretty bad before they called off school. Because of my experience living in the mountains, I too thought Washingtonians were a little overly cautious when it comes to snow.

However, now that we're going through our 9th winter here, I understand the caution. The simple fact is, we are used to rain. Even wind and flooding. We're not used to snow. It doesn't snow here every single winter so we don't put snow preparedness things at the tippy-top of our city planning priorities. And frankly, these days, we simply do not have the money in our state budget.



And like Mr. Thiel pointed out, the snow we get here is the polar (polar, ha!) opposite of the snow Lake Tahoe gets. The variety of snow experienced in the Sierra Nevada mountains is the dry kind. It's not as heavy or sticky or slick.

For this chic to criticize how we handle our snow storms for the Los Angeles Times is ludicrous. LA has not a single leg to stand on when it comes to snow! The rain we're used to here in the Pacific Northwest causes all kinds of problems for the residents of Southern California when they get it. They encounter the same idiot, white-knuckle driving and increase in accidents during rain that we do during snow.

And excuse me, but if a portion of the 405 being shut down can be coined "Carmageddon", we deserve to refer to the storms we just had as "Snowmageddon". When the East Coast has a freaking earthquake they're allowed to freak out a little too. And by the way, I hear there were recently freezing temps in Florida! Shit happens. Ahem.



I just don't understand why she needed to write something critical. Why couldn't she simply report the facts?  She apparently complained on a radio show that her email inbox was being "abused". Aw, I wonder why?




35 comments:

  1. It is kinda ironic that someone is criticizing us in the LA times... where it never snows! And most places don't have as many hills as we do. Hope you guys had fun in the snow! We did, until cabin fever set in from being stuck at home for 4 days!

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    1. My kids did have fun, although my son can't stay out in it long. He just doesn't have any meat on his bones to keep him warm!

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  2. Hey, at least you didn't call in the army to help with snow removal! Oh yes, a few years ago the mayor of Toronto did just that . . . needless to say, it is still a joke to the rest of Canada.
    Jenn

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    1. Oh my goodness! Yeah, at least we didn't do that.

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    2. Don't be pokin' fun at ex mayor Mel. He sells crappy furniture, what does he know about running a city? Hardly any this year, I think we're getting your rain.

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  3. I almost wrote a blog defending our state. Actually just Western Washington, Eastern Washington is used to the snow. The other thing is buildings in areas with snow are built for snow. At angles and usually tin so snow slides right off. Here we don't do that so we have things collapsing all over the state. I am SO glad you pointed out the earthquake on the East Coast!!! Perfect point!

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    1. I thought that was a good point. Crazy things happen!

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  4. Tell AJ, GranDoug says, "Layers, man, layers!!"

    When San Francisco gets snow once every 10 years or so... it's crazy cuz of all their hills, too! We live in the mountains, here at Lake Tahoe, but we are already UP in the mountains. We live in a valley, Lake Valley. We don't have to drive up hills to get to town. Only if we want to drive over the hill to the 'real valley' LOL. Like today. I'm braving the super slick roads to drive to Carson Valley to ride my pony for the first time this winter in the snow! Yeah! No more dust!!

    Keep warm,
    Mom

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  5. I know exactly how you feel. I wrote a post once when Oklahoma received several earthquakes and the reporters made us all out to be hillbillies scared for our lives. That snow is gorgeous - we usually have tons of snow here --- but so far? Not a trop.

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    1. Well jeez, earthquakes ARE scary.....especially when you're not used to them!

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  6. Guess the saying "Through Rain, Sleet, and Snow" is for surely true. :)

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  7. I know you guys got hit with the snow pretty bad. I am down here in Portland where we got very little but it was still a huge story. I always laugh that they (Portland Media) blow it so far out of proportion. I say if I want snow I will drive to it.

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    1. The thing is that it's not an every winter occurrence. So ppl get a little worked up. Big deal.

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  8. You go girl! I love it when you get feisty! Want me to punch her?

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    1. Yes, you come out here, punch her out and take me to lunch!

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    2. Counties budget and apply funding for weather conditions they're typically used to dealing with. Duh! I can kick her in the twat too if you want.

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    3. Nice to know I've got a couple of badasses as friends!

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  9. LOL....I'm so sorry for laughing. We got 25 cm of snow in a few hours on Friday. Schools and some offices were closed (for that one day), but things like malls were still open. But I do understand that we have the plows and studded tires to deal with it that you guys probably don't. Enjoy your snowmageddon :D

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    1. Is 25 cm a lot? I don't think in centimeters.

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  10. I totally get it. We, in Vancouver, have some of the same discussions.

    www.mamaandthecity.com

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  11. That sure looks like an epic snowstorm!

    I think this chick was just riling people up on purpose - no other way to get people o pay attention to her drivel.

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  12. I am about 2 hours north of you in BC and we got slammed too, compared to our 1 day of snow last year this was pretty major... didn't even get a chance to put on my snow tires! At least the kids get to have some fun!

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  13. Never ever got anything shut down in my childhood because of snow (we were wishing they would do it though ;-) ). And we had a lot of snow in Switzerland, believe me. But as you say, when you used to it, it doesn't matter and you know how to live with or around it.

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  14. I was going to reply with all kinds of agreements with the woman from LA. I had heard about the snowfall in WA, and the local reaction to it and thought the same thing at the time - "wimps!" I live in New England where we get every type of snow imaginable and we're always prepared for it.

    After reading your post, I've changed my mind. I won't be poking fun at you. :-)

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    1. Well thank you, Eric. I do wish we were better prepared around here, but then again, it's also kinda fun to b e snowed in for a few days. It's NOT fun, however, when the power goes out and ppl are freezing. It would be nice to avoid that at least!

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  15. Why does the LA Times reporter even live in Seattle? Is there a crucial beat up there that's relevant to LA? Hmmm.

    That being said, I've lived in LA for a dozen years but am originally an Ohio native. Needless to say, I'm familiar with fluctuating weather patterns. The thing that always amazes me about LA is that when there is a major rainfall (our sign of winter), the city shuts down. Roads are either empty or filled with fender benders caused by people who don't know how to drive when it's not 72 and sunny out. Makes me crazy every time.

    Hope you made it through the storm unscathed...

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    1. Thanks for feeling me on this. And yes, we made it through just fine. Snow's all gone now.

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  16. Hey, that wasn't very nice of her. Oh well. First snows can be fun, and especially for kids when they get school off (but maybe not for moms). She probably needed something catchy to draw a lot of attention. The pictures are great, by the way!

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    1. It was fun for the kids, and not really too bad for me. Just the in and out and off and on of clothes was the biggest pain.

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