El Nino, that little dude who hangs out in the Pacific Ocean and messes with North America’s winter weather, has been doing a fine job of delivering us a mild winter with an unusual lack of snowstorms. We had one good storm in November, but since then I doubt we’ve had a single snowfall of more than four inches.
Then, just when we think we’re going to scoot right into spring unscathed, this happens.
As a cross-country skiing enthusiast, I don’t mind a little snow, if it’s a nice, powdery, slick kind that’s easy to shovel and fun to ski on. This storm was none of that.
This was a heavy, wet snow – the snow that makes one want spring. For those who live in warm places, like California or South Africa, where winter means brings a light jacket, it may be news to you that all snow is not created equal.
Heavy snow falls when the temperature is near the freezing point. It takes twice as long to shovel your driveway, but in my area that’s no big deal because it takes most of the day for a snowplow to come through. Snowplows are a mixed blessing. On the one hand, they clear the streets so you have a chance to drive out of your neighborhood. But you can’t do that until you shovel again to clear the snow bank the snowplow has created at the end of your driveway. Snowplow banks are the hardest snow of all to shovel.
I haven’t skied all year, and this storm will do nothing to change that. This sticky snow is good for building snowmen and making snowballs, but not for gliding over. What’s more, it will be melted by the weekend because that’s what happens to snow when the days get noticeably longer.
But it did close the schools, so at least the teachers are probably enjoying it.