I tend to be pretty understanding of weather forecasters; I understand that the weather is a very complex system and that they do an amazing job predicting what our weather will be luck. However, if they can’t get weather right while it’s happening, they may want to consider another line of work.
I follow the weather very closely during the winter. I have a 25 mile drive every morning and evening on high volume roads. I’ve driven them in the snow, and I know that it doesn’t take much snow to cause gridlock and accidents. Even if everyone did know how to drive in the snow, which they don’t, accidents are difficult to avoid based on the shear volume of cars trying to get from here to there.
I checked the weather frequently throughout the day yesterday. I had a late meeting that I wanted to attend, but didn’t need to attend. Every time I checked the weather, the report was the same. 50% chance of snow showers in the afternoon with accumulations from a dusting to an inch. An hour before the meeting, I checked. Same forecast. Half an hour before, same forecast. I decided to stay. When I got to the meeting the host complained about low turnout and canceled the meeting. I was frustrated, but I can flex that extra hour, so no biggy.
Well, not biggy until I got about 3 miles from home. That’s when traffic slowed to a crawl because there was several inches of cold, powdery, slippery snow on the road. I put on a CD and tried to relax for the slow ride ahead of me.
Half an hour later, with two miles left until home, I started getting frustrated. I was sitting at a traffic light and took the opportunity to warn Andy I was going to be really late. Traffic was still crawling as far as I could see. The light changed, and I inched my way through the intersection.
That’s when I heard the siren. A police SUV and a large fire company van were trying to get through traffic and head in the same direction as me and my follow stuckies. The East bound traffic was light, but both westbound lanes were packed solid. I looked ahead and realized there was no way these guys were going to get through. The van driver, however, decided to give it a try. He turned onto the road and tried to travel in the eastbound turning lane. I watched him slide right by the side of my car, fishtail, and then crash the back of the van into the back of the SUV in front of me. He missed my car by about three feet. I actually gasped and held my hand up to my mouth, which made me giggle a little.
That’s when the adrenaline rush hit. I turned off the CD and flipped to the local news radio station. They reported traffic back-ups all over the region, but not on the road I was driving. Typical. Then the weather man came on. “It’s currently snowing in blah, blah blah, location.” But he doesn’t mention where I am. “Those areas could get up to one inch of snow.”
Dude. There are three inches of snow out there RIGHT NOW. THREE INCHES! THREE! Do you get it? There is three times more snow currently on the ground than you are currently predicting. If I had known the real weather, I wouldn't have stayed for the meeting and avoided the whole mess.
I calmed down after getting some of that adrenaline burned off, but my ride was still not over. I had a hill to go down before reaching my road. I was fine, but the garbage truck next to me wasn’t. Every time the driver took his foot off the brake, the massive truck would start to slide forward and the front wheels would turn. He would ease on the break, the truck would stop, he would correct the steering, and then ease off the brake. As soon as he did, he would start to slide again. I’ve never seen anything like it. The driver was being extremely cautious and did everything he could, but it was impossible for him to steer the truck.
I hung back. If he got sliding enough that the brakes wouldn’t work, he was going to crash into whatever was in his way. The last thing I needed was to be hit by a multi-ton garbage truck. But, that didn’t stop the idiot that was behind him. As soon as I left enough room, she zipped around me and put herself directly between the car in front of her and the truck. All so she could move about 100 feet and then sit just like the rest of us.
The truck driver tried to head for a parking lot just down from the crest of the hill, but he couldn’t get control of the truck enough to turn it. He finally gave up. He stopped right there in the road and put his blinkers on. Blocking one of the two lanes of traffic. Based on the horns behind me, it wasn’t a popular decision, but from what I witnessed, it was the right thing to do.
An hour and a half after I left work, I finally pulled into my parking spot. It took me an hour to go three miles, but I made it safe and sound. I opened the door to my warm home and the voices of Andy and Michael coming from the living room. Home is such a wonderful place to be. Thank goodness I had made dinner in the crockpot*. I was able to whip up a meal in minutes. Once I had some warm food in my belly we decided to suit up and head out to play in the snow. Three inches of snow sucks for driving, but it was great for Michael’s first time sledding.
*My roast turkey recipe for the crockpot is really simple. It can be done with a