Monday, January 25, 2016


So, you might have heard we had a little bit of weather over the weekend. The greater NoVA area experienced an honest-to-goodness blizzard, with the DC area getting somewhere between two to three feet of snow. We got about 30 inches at my house, putting this storm squarely in the "respectable" column even for a guy from New England.

The obligatory back-deck patio furniture shot. That's not even the half of it - we got another foot and a half on top of this. It was basically level across the back deck - I know, because I had to shovel most of it to prevent a collapse and to keep water from getting in the house. Home ownership, it's a blast...
It's also the first time I've ever had a flight canceled on me, outright. I was in Las Vegas for SHOT Show, and Thursday morning I received notice that my flight home, scheduled for Friday at 3:30PM, had been canceled. A bit of wild scrambling and a hail-Mary call to our travel agent and I secured a flight home on Thursday, a full 24 hours ahead of schedule. Which is good, because folks that weren't so lucky were, as of the writing of this post, still stuck in Vegas.

The kids are loving life, because school was canceled Thursday and Friday in anticipation of the storm and is closed today and tomorrow for the cleanup. Our county sent out a notice that residential streets won't even start to get plowed until today, although our neighborhood was in pretty good shape.

The biggest difference I've noticed between MA and VA when it comes to snow removal has nothing to do with municipally owned equipment. There's about the same number of trucks, sanders, etc. owned by the city/county/state in both places; in fact, VA almost certainly has more due to the larger size of the state. The biggest difference is in the privately owned plows and sanders.

In MA/New England, pretty much every landscaping company (that's not a school teacher's summer gig) has 4WD trucks with plows to supplement income through the winter. Whether it's a state contract, a local gig clearing out a plaza parking lot, or just going door-to-door clearing driveways, there's enough snow in New England to justify spending the cash on equipment. Given that the landscaping season is only about 6 months (mid-April to mid-October), it's a smart investment.

Here in VA there are a lot less private outfits with snowplows. Landscapers are really only off December through February, so there's less down time to fill with plowing. The snow season is much shorter, really only January and February; with more years than not seeing only minor storms. There's much less incentive to invest in a full plowing rig when it's quite possible you might only get one chance to use it in a season.

It leads to interesting driving, that's for sure. The state guys get the main roads, but really only the center of the road. It's not unusual to see entire lanes lost because they just couldn't plow them out. On the main drag near our house, there's a series of lights for entrance to a large shopping plaza with several different areas, and the third lane disappears and reappears in several sections. Turn lanes are generally the first victims.

Of course, everything will be melted by the end of the week, when it's projected to get into the 50s. That's another big difference - in MA, when there was a big January storm, it was quite possible that snow would stick around until April. Here, it's a rare storm that leaves snow lasting more than a few weeks.

I'm hoping to be back on the Harley by mid-February...

That is all.


Anonymous said...

Trapped in Las Vegas, my heart goes out to their pain and suffering.


Nik said...

I blame you for the storm. Clearly it snuck into your luggage last time you visited MA, and finally managed to escape your house, this weekend. :-)

Murphy's Law said...

30 inches? Is that all? Come west a bit.

Borepatch said...

Same up here in northern MD. Seems like a real snow storm, based on my New England years.

What's noticeable is how long it takes to get snow plows to anywhere except the main roads.

Evyl Robot Michael said...

It's funny to hear people who moved here from snowier locals complaining about the lack of preparation. Every once in a while you can get them to understand that a snow storm every five or so years doesn't justify the upkeep of the equipment.

Ajdshootist said...

Snow i would love to see some snow its been raining every day here since mid November and cold, i went shooting last Sat it was so cold my fingers were blue and gave up after 5 shots and i had leather gloves on no shooting 2moro range closed for mainternance.