Snow News Is…

January 11th, 2010 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

uksnow.jpgA glory of our common provincialism is the weather we know…and so often discuss. That gives us the chance too for being amused at the corresponding climate provincialism of others.

My father moved from Keene to Tacoma, which gave him that chance. He reveled in the myth that the Pacific Northwest was constantly rainy. In fact, our area here gets more precipitation, although less of the mist sort they had there.

Likewise from my years in the South, I got used to the difference 70 degrees make. At that temperature, a Southerner will put on sweaters. Yankees are likely to go to a tee-shirt.

Then there’s snow. A high school chum typified that distinction when she moved to one of  my childhood towns, Danville, Virginia, three miles above North Carolina. She said how glad she was to be out of New Jersey’s snowy weather. I, on the other hand, recall a great freak snowstorm there of over two feet when I was 9 or so. I love my cross-country skiing.

So there we were in London less than a week ago. We were staying with my brother-in-law’s family in Virginia Water, a village a couple of miles West of Greater London in Surrey. The day and night before we headed to Heathrow for Boston, we had a record snow. It was the largest fall in the past 20-plus years — two inches.

The airport was under a dozen miles away, normally a 20-minute drive.  Yet there was some concern about whether Heathrow would be operating and whether the roads would be passable.

In Southern England, they don’t use what we think of as all-weather tires,  much less snow tires. A snow is not only rare, when it comes, it almost always is a dusting. For this one, the local schools and businesses shut down. Getting to the motorway via country lanes was slow and the roads were hardly plowed, but the main road was OK.

As it turned out, Heathrow was open and our flight left only 20 minutes late, as one of the runways was not completely clear. When we got home, we found that the six inches in the lower part of Boston was a bit deeper on top of our Hyde Park hill with its micro-climate.  The next morning, I was moving around about 8 or 9 inches. What would Virginia Water  made of that?

Lest I feel superior and rugged, I think of chums in Minnesota and Idaho, who in turn laugh at what we consider a lot of snow.

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