Snow in the South

First – some history on me.  I grew up mostly in Texas.  When it snowed, the schools closed, nevermind that it was only an inch.  Then I move to Denver, where I drove with three inches of standing snow on the road, where you couldn’t see the lanes in the road, you just drove in the path carved out by the car in front of you, and snowdrifts were piled high.  Then I moved to Charlotte, which operates much like Texas does, which is:  1″ of snow=school closings.

People from the North make fun of Southerners, because when the news calls for 2-3″, everyone runs out, buys milk and bread, and schools close the next day, so parents stay home, too.  Northerners say, “Ha, ha, you Southerners and your inability to drive in the snow.  Call me when it gets to be 3 feet of snow, okay?”

Having lived in both the South and Denver (which is not the north, but gets a lot of snow), I feel I can comment on this.  To you people from the north:  (a) snow is exciting to Southerners.  Southerners don’t get to see it too often, so making a “grassman” (a snowman made of more grass than snow) is a special treat.  (b) The South does not have the money invested in road clearing that the North does.  The South does not have ample snow plows, and snow chains.  So although the North gets 3 feet of snow, the roads are fairly decent to drive on, as opposed to the melted/refrozen mass that we drive on down here.  (c) People from the South did not grow up driving in the snow.  They can barely drive in the rain – do you really want to see what happens in the snow?  (Please note – this last statement is meant to be funny – please don’t comment about my stereotyping.)

When I first moved from Denver to Charlotte, I was forced onto the “Inclement Weather Team” by my boss.  “You lived in Denver, you can drive in the snow.  You’ll be able to get to work.”  I tried to explain, again and again, that “driving in the snow” in Denver and “driving in the snow” in Charlotte are two different things.  People in Denver know how to drive when it’s snowing.  Most of the wrecks you saw involved cars with Texas plates.  And, most importantly, Denver knows how to treat the roads and has plenty of manpower and equipment to do so.

Charlotte (and most of the South) does not.

Two stories for you:

I remember one storm we had in Denver – it was a completely unexpected.  Denver pre-treats the roads when they are expecting snow, so the snow doesn’t stick.  But this storm was unexpected, so they didn’t do their normal treatment.  I got in my car and made it ten blocks (out of the 110 blocks I had to go to work) in half an hour.  When a car in oncoming traffic lost control, swinging into the lane I was in and missing the car in front of me by about a foot, I turned around.  No way did I want to be a part of that mess.

The year I moved to Denver, we had a blizzard.  An honest to God blizzard that shut down the Denver airport, which doesn’t happen.  The city was completely shut down for three days.  On the second day, my boyfriend and I went to the grocery store on foot.  Lots of people were out in showshoes, making it easy to get around on the sidewalks.  But the streets?  They were completely clear.  The pre-treatment and snow plows had done their job – people simply couldn’t get out of parking lots and neighborhood streets.

So, Northerners, laugh all you want.  Southerners got more snow days growing up.  Southerners enjoy the simplicity of a snowfall.  And trust me, if you really want Southerners on the road, you’ll more than likely be in a ditch with one.

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One response to “Snow in the South

  1. Having grown up here, I completely agree. It’s a WAY different story driving where they get this stuff all the time and where it happens once a year. I find most of the people that wreck here are from the north – speeding and reckless because “they know how to drive in this weather” unlike the natives. Unfortunately for them…you’re not driving in snow. Snow is easy to drive in. You’re driving on ice. And I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that likes driving on ice!
    I enjoy these unexpected little blasts of snow. It’s enough to remind me that we’re in winter but gone quickly enough that it doesn’t become inconvenient!