Tag: winter

It’s A Miracle

WaterWineI was never one of those people who was really big into miracles but in light of this morning’s circumstances, I might have to reconsider.

Here in the northeast, we’ve just finished digging out of the latest winter storm. One that dropped another eight inches of snow on a tired area of the nation longing for spring relief. Anyone who says snow is beautiful has obviously spent more time riding a sleigh than standing behind a shovel, and I spent much of last evening doing the latter; digging and snow-blowing a manageable path to get my car out for work the next day.

As usual, I left my house at 5 am this morning. The drive in to work was just as it always is after a snow storm: a slippery mess. But I always try to be cautious when it comes to driving in snow/ice conditions. I even have one of those little indicator lights in my car that alerts me when the car is slipping around.

The route I take to work travels eighteen miles on a normally busy highway. I’ll admit I was a bit concerned about the road conditions there, but was pleasantly surprised on my arrival to discover that the surfaces were completely clear for the most part.

I was driving along in the slow lane at a moderately reduced 35 mph, behind cars doing a similar rate of speed. It wasn’t long before I came upon a car ahead of me that had its four-way flashers going indicating that the driver was in some sort of distress and going extra slow. I slowly moved over into the passing lane to get around him and in retrospect, that was probably my first mistake. For instead of moving back over to the slow lane after I had passed the car, I chose to continue driving in the passing lane a little longer, a lane which had suddenly started to slow down.

It was at that moment that some knucklehead in the slow lane decided to move over into the passing lane and cut me off. Now, this is a maneuver I’ve experienced countless times in the past and one that would require me to hit my brakes to slow down in order to avoid an accident. On a warm spring day this could easily have been achieved, but obviously not in the beginning of February and on the morning after a snow storm.

In my attempt to slow down, I encountered some black ice on the road and immediately knew that there was going to be no way to avoid a collision. Although I was able to reduce speed I still struck the back-end of his car doing about 25 mph. Loud enough to hear the dreaded “THUD!” and knowing that damage was going to be done.

As our cars separated, I noticed through my windshield that the back-end of his car had suffered no damage at all following the fender bender. I realized that even though he was negligent for cutting me off, I would ultimately hold responsibility for the accident because I had rear-ended his car. As if that weren’t enough, to add insult to injury, the damage was going to be limited to just my car.

We both slowly pulled off of the highway. All the while I was not only thinking about the safety of the driver, but also about the extensive damage that had been done to my car. I saw visions of police officers arriving at the scene and endless calls to claims adjusters in my future, not to mention the fact that I was also going to be late for work. I clicked on my hazard lights and slowly got out of the car.

That’s when something I still can’t explain happened.

I looked at the front end of my car and there was not a scratch. Huh?? After hitting his car at 25 mph and hearing the dreaded WHOMP, there was not even a mark. Not a scratch, dent, ding or split in the bumper. Both cars had zero damage. It was almost as if I had rear ended a pillow.

The other driver and I stood in the cold glare of our four-way flashers dumbfounded over what had just happened. As big semi trucks and snow plows trudged by us in the early morning hour, we both knew that what had experienced could not be explained.

We both shook hands and exchanged phone numbers in case something went wrong, but I don’t think it will. It certainly wasn’t a miracle in a sense of turning water into wine or having a life long disease suddenly being cured, but it does make you think.

Sometimes even in the throes of the worst winters, good things happen.

Here We Go Again

Here we go again. Time for the media to start fear mongering about the weather again.

I can see how it must get pretty boring during the warm months here in the Northeast. I mean, how much fun is it to talk about a sunny day or a passing thunderstorm for months and months? These meteorologists long for cold winter days and big nor’easter storms so they can talk about the same things over and over again ad nauseam.  Some of them even for go sleep and stay up for days to keep reporting on accumulations.

I’m sure they all got their jollies though a few months ago when Hurricane Irene churned up the coast. A storm that by all accounts would lay waste to New York City. They all took comfort in having had days and days to warn everyone to start stocking up on gold for the end of the world and directing everyone to the local grocery for milk, bread and eggs before the apocalypse.

I can just see all the local weather people gathering in their offices when the storm passed and the sun started to peek out. High-fiving each other and saying “Good Job!”.

But that was a ‘one-off’. A nice chance to issue a dire warning while waiting anxiously for Winter.

Then they received an early Christmas present. Mother Nature, in her wisdom, decided to throw a curve ball and play a little “trick” this Halloween by dropping some snow. And the media ran with it. I think the headline says it all:

“Scary Weather? High elevations may get 4-6 inches of snow, most of Valley to see much less.”

So here we go again. And this time they get to use Scary to coincide with Halloween for more dramatic effect. A Nostradamic prediction of doom from the local newspaper for an out of the ordinary “Halloween” snow storm in the Northeast. A storm that might drop 4-6″ of snow in the highest elevations? FOUR to SIX INCHES?? You’ve got to be kidding. Have these people reporting this event even lived here long? EVERY storm in the winter is 4-6″.

So let me see if I’ve got this straight. It “may” snow as much as 4-6 inches in the highest elevations (meaning the mountain areas where no one lives). The rest of us will probably see less. That qualifies as “scary”?  Hardly. The only thing scary is that we have to wait six months until we are out of the woods and the warm weather is back.

Now I’m no meteorologist but I did have a life science course in ninth grade. Armed with that knowledge and my reading ability since the age of four I did a quick scan of the extended weather forecast and drew the following conclusion:

Temperatures are said to be somewhere in the mid 50’s the days following the “storm to end all storms”.  One of the first things we learned in class was that a temperature that high is more than enough to melt snow. Especially light accumulations.

I’ve determined that any snow we get this weekend will be gone by Monday. Yet the media is warning us to have shovels and snow blowers on alert.

I can already see it’s going to be a long, cold winter.