Thursday, January 07, 2010

Snow in the South

As I sit here composing this post, I can’t help the shaking of my head or the feeling of silliness. I’ve had the luck to live in several different parts of the United States and in living in different parts of the U.S., I have experienced several different climates.

Having spent the first 20 years of my life in mid-Ohio, this is what I consider “normal”. I compare everything from neighborhood layouts, architecture, and traditions to how I first experienced them in Ohio. Ohio has very distinctive seasons:  cold winters with bare trees and snow, mild springs with lots of rain, summers that are hot and humid with strong thunderstorms, and mild autumns with changing leaves and cooling temperatures. I would guess that out of all the United States, the midwest has four seasons that you can actually tell when they are happening.

I only lived in Florida for six months, April until September. Spring until very early fall basically and it was a long time ago. All I really remember of it is HOT HOT HOT! Very humid with kickass summer storms and a few hurricanes thrown in to make things interesting. You could practically set your clock by the afternoon thunderstorm that rolled in from 1-2 in the afternoon almost every day.

Then we had California. San Diego county is unique in that you can experience almost every climate in the one county. It’s very temperate along the coast, hot and dry inland and in the deserts, cooler with occasion winter snow in the mountains. They say that you can snow ski and surf all in the same day in San Diego county. We lived inland and the summers were very hot and very dry. Winters were mild. That was it. I loved it though. I remember one time during the Santa Anas that it was so hot that when you walked outside your skin would tingle with it.

Next, we had Vermont. They basically have 2 1/2 seasons:  Winter, Mud Season/Spring/Summer, and Autumn. You had cold winters that started as early as September. Cold barely even describes it. In the dead of winter with wind chills, you could get frostbite by being outside less than fifteen minutes. And because it was so cold, the snow never melted until spring so it just accumulated all winter long. They make such a thing as roof rakes so that you can rake the snow off your roof so that it doesn’t cave in from the weight. It is the bitterest cold I have ever experience in my life. There were times when it was warmer in Alaska than it was in Vermont. No kidding. Vermonters know how to clear a road better than anyone else I have ever seen. School was rarely cancelled or delayed due to snow but more often because of the bitterly cold temps. Winters would very reluctantly give way to spring sometime in April or May. Then it was time for Mud Season. The snow melts until everything in sight is a muddy, mushy mess. Mud Season was terrible. If you are a neat freak, you can forget about living in Vermont because mud being tracked in was just something that you had to learn to live with. Sometime in June, things would begin to dry out. It didn’t rain all that often during the “summer” months. In the three years that we lived there, I can only remember two days where I wished that we had had air conditioning. The rest of the time, open windows and fans during the day were enough and those had to be shut at night because it would get too cold for them. Then, of course, you had Leaf Season. This lasts for 2-4 weeks before it starts snowing again. Vermonters pretty much hate Leaf Peepers if you’ve ever a mind to drive there to view the autumn colors. They clog the roads and pull over to the side of the road whenever they see a particular scene worthy of a picture. It’s annoying but I did the same thing, lol.

Now we live in North Carolina. This is again, a state with basically three of the four seasons: Hot, hot summers, and coolish autumns and winters, and mild springs. Neither spring nor autumn last very long at all. It seems like one day it’s in the 70’s, next it’s in the 90’s, then it’s back in the 70’s for a few days before that gives way to chilly winters. Summer is, by far, the main attraction. We have very hot and humid summers where the nights only get as cool as the mid 70’s. I like the weather here although the cool months get cooler than I prefer.

The entire country is experiencing a cold snap, North Carolina is no exception. We’ve had overnight lows in the teens and tonight, we’re bracing for snow. Now’s when I have to shake my head at the silliness. They’re forcasting a trace to an inch at the most and they’ve already posted 2 hour delays for the schools tomorrow. Even Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base is on a 2 hour delay tomorrow. They’ve even salted the roads already too.This is when Vermonters would laugh and call us “low landers”. It is so funny to think that less than an inch of snow is going to shut the state down. Still, in a land where people never see snow, the thought of being on the road with these people is scary indeed. I, for one, am grateful that I won’t have to venture out with people that consider an inch of snow to be a lot. In Vermont, people would still be wearing shorts, t-shirts, and sandals with only an inch of snow on the ground.

All in all, I am GREATLY looking forward to being able to sleep in for two hours tomorrow. What a way to start the weekend! I’ll do my best to post some pictures tomorrow, heheh.

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