We've got some snow -- 02/11/10

We got a bit of snow yesterday. Not as much as they got down in the DC area, only about eight or ten inches here. This photo was taken on our front porch around lunch time Wednesday. We had light snow on and off since around 8 a.m. or so, but it really began to come down around 11 a.m.

The original forecast had been for at least that much or more, with accumulations of as much as sixteen or eighteen inches being mentioned, but apparently the storm changed its path slightly as it passed New York City so that it did not hit New England with as much snow as had been expected. It had been anticipated that the heaviest snowfall would be right along the coast. That turned out to be true, but instead of more inland areas, such as Providence, getting the several inches that had been predicted, they received very little snow. The problem with that was, that on Tuesday the state emergency management agency was urging that everything scheduled for Wednesday should be cancelled. Thus, every school system in the state (except for on Block Island, where they held morning classes as usual and just dismissed students at 11:30, which is when the heavy snowfall was supposed to hit). This caused many people in the Providence area to wonder why all these schools and businesses had closed. (School closings were absolutely needed down here along the coast. We had a lot of snow plus very strong winds.)

This excess of caution (cancelling things so far in advance) was probably due to what had happened a couple of years ago when a snow storm began to dump a heavy snowfall shortly past noon. The Providence school system dismissed school earlier than usual and many businesses sent workers home at about that same time. This created a sudden mid-afternoon traffic rush hour... just as the snow was coming down very quickly... and the plows were attempting to clear the roads. Traffic gridlock was the result, snowplows trapped in traffic and I-95 through Providence became a parking lot as vehicles got stuck on the exit ramps, thus blocking any way to get off the highway. The school system had failed to notify parents that children were being sent home early... and, instead, they didn't arrive home until long after their normal time. Some students did not get home until late that evening, having spent hours on stranded buses. The superintendent of schools left his office at the end of the day, went to a gym to work out, and had no idea that there was a problem until he arrived home much later that evening. The end result of all that was that Providence got a new superintendent of schools and the state of Rhode Island and the city of Providence replaced some of their top emergency preparedness bureaucrats.

As I said, we did have severe winter weather here. About four o'clock I gave Jill a ride to work (not just that the roads were slippery, but also because she would have a problem finding a parking spot at work). I took this picture while driving back home on our street.

Today was bright and sunny early in the morning, although it began to cloud over as the afternoon approached. This is a picture taken in our backyard (obviously looking toward the half where I did not have trees cut down last year) shortly before noon. I was struck by the pattern of light and dark on the trees. The white is snow. Yesterday's snow was fairly wet and the winds were frequently very strong. The result, snow stuck to the windward side of the trees. It almost looks as if the left side of the trees had been painted white.

Okay, and finally, especially for those of you who, like myself, really miss Calvin and Hobbes, here is a link to a collection of snowman-related Calvin and Hobbes cartoons.

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