The South may not be equipped to handle a little bit of snow and ice, but don't accuse us of being afraid of the weather.
I have lived in the Deep South for all of my years on this planet, and rarely do I travel northward during the Winter season, then only for absolute necessity. My point is that if you could take all of the fallen snow I have seen outside my home window over my lifetime and added it together, it would probably equal about one-tenth of the snowfall recorded in Erie, PA a few days ago.
We were hit with a major (for us) snowstorm in December, blanketing our area with about six inches of the white stuff, and some parts of the south are getting a snow/wintry mix today. Prior to today, I had never heard of a “Bomb Cyclone,” which is apparently a term made up to anger meteorologists, who insist the proper term is “bombogenesis,” also a term I had never heard mentioned.
Schools and businesses are closing their doors in anticipation of the dangerous conditions across parts of the regions, and my Twitter account is filled with comments making fun of the Southerners being shut down by such a disastrous snow event.
I have read comments about driving back and forth to work in blinding blizzards, reports of snowfalls that covered tiny houses but didn’t stop the local high school football game, and, as Bill Cosby once said, stories of walking to school in three feet of snow, uphill, both ways. All this to point out the inability of the Southern population to handle a little bit of snow and ice.
Well, snow lovers, we freely admit we can’t handle snow. Of course, we don’t have the snow handling equipment that most of the Northern cities and individuals have, with your snow plows, snow tires and chains, road salting equipment and the like. And the reason we don’t have any of this stuff is that we only get a significant amount of snowfall (one-half inch by our standards) about once every five years.
We aren’t afraid of snow; quite the contrary, we become complete idiots when there is even a threat of snow. Weather forecasters are timid about mentioning snow or ice in the region because of the ensuing panic that occurs as people leave work early to get to the store for milk and bread, as if these items were the panacea for relief from being “snowed-in.”
We have generators for power outages that we bought back in 1997 when the power was out for two and a half hours, that we haven’t used since. Everybody knows someone named Billy Ray who has a four-wheel drive pickup, with mud tires, jacked up so high a stepstool is required to gain entry that can bring necessary food and medical supplies at a moment’s notice.
In fact, much of the aftermath of the storm is spent pulling the cars of those who had no fear of slippery roads and snowfall out of the ditches that line the roads. That would be the only reason Billy Ray was late with your supplies.
And anyone who lives on the slightest hill, as I do, can expect the children and grandchildren to brave whatever the road conditions may be to bring cardboard, used linoleum, or even flattened pool floats to slide down the hill in the snow.
Which is also one of the reasons most schools and businesses in the South shut down at a snowfall. Most children and employees won’t report anyway, because they are either “snowed-in,” out playing in the snow that is such a rarity, or riding with Billy Ray on rescue missions.
So, we admit we can’t handle the snow well. Poke fun, if you must, but remember, we are the ones who walk three miles to school while filming a passing tornado on our cell phones. Just don’t imply we are afraid of a little weather.