Weatherwise

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I sincerely love this city, but in all honesty, Seattle can sometimes be pretty pathetic. Of course, same could be said for absolutely everywhere. When it comes down to it, Seattle is just the slightest bit wussy when it comes to certain types of weather. That’s right, WUSSY. Ok, I guess someone had to just get out there and say it. Overall, the Pacific Northwest’s climate is really quite mild and temperate. Grey? we can handle. Rain? we can handle. Sun? we can handle. Snow? Nope.

You would think a city who’s inhabitants survived the WTO riots, endured tear gas and violence wouldn’t be reduced to that same chaos and shut the city down for a few inches of snow and temperatures in the 30’s. Yes, this whopping 1-5 inches of snow did this. Road closures, public transportation shut down, employees told to stay home, schools dismissed. 

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SAD. and pathetic, and unprepared. You would think we were having some major emergency. The massive flooding of the last few years, I can understand. But a dusting of snow? You’ve got to be kidding me. Many places endure much worse. It is really hard for me to comprehend, my perception is so different. Snow on the pass closes the Highways with 24 inches of snowfall. Try 52 inches in 24 hours. Oh wait, let’s be fair. We just got about 5 inches in this duration of storms (note plurality), so where I’m from, the single storm records have in the last 100 years more than a dozen occurrences of dropping over 10 FEET each storm. Ok, let’s now talk Cold. It has dropped into the 20’s and maybe the teens here in Seattle in the last week. Out of the nearly 8000 reporting weather stations in the U.S., Truckee often registers the lowest temperature in the Nation, including the all time recorded low of 45 degrees BELOW ZERO.

“Some people are weatherwise, but most people are otherwise.” -Benjamin Franklin

I know, I’m being harsh. A town with no plan for snow removal or equipment to do so should in no way be held to someone else’s standards or be expected to act any differently than this. It’s just kinda the way it works around here. Though, even when the weather throws us for a loop, there should be a bit more common sense thrown in (to the lady I saw this morning walking down our icy sidewalk: yes, you were wearing boots but the 4″ stiletto heels didn’t help you much). There is still a part in my brain where I am dismayed to say I live in a city where a few inches becomes such a big deal and am still slightly apathetic that no one knows how to drive on slightly slippery roads then abandons their cars turning major thoroughfares into parking lots.

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HOWEVER, reality and my heart feel quite differently. I completely understand that people are just not used to this, snow is a hard thing to deal with. This is our Third winter living in Seattle. It’s odd, though, how a few inches of the white can now bring on that same Snow Day excitement that 6 feet used to in grade school. Once, this would have been considered nothing (ah, well, kinda still is) has become so much more of a celebratory break from the norm- an opportunity to roll on the ground, bake cookies, sip hot cocoa. And it’s contagious too. I watch people out the front windows, with smiles on their faces, throwing snowballs and kids running up and down the sidewalks with utter glee.

So yes, it’s kinda pathetic. But it’s also really fun. It’s something I experienced as a child that I now get to experience with my children. So for there sake, I dug up some old photos to post some of my context, to paint the picture of my reality, my perception of what COLD and SNOW and WINTER really mean:

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This is called ‘lightly snowing’ as the sun starts to illuminate the ice crystals falling to the ground and blowing around. This image was taken from the Disney lift at Sugar Bowl, likely in 2004.

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This is a poorly scanned slide, but this is the street I grew up on, right at the end of my parent’s driveway (can you see it there to the right??) in December, right about 5 years ago as we were about to take off to car camp and ski through Canada for our first anniversary. Snow banks are just about as tall as our Subie.

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Taken from inside the car with a fisheye lens on our trip to Canada. I think that day it hit -27 degrees Celsius. Later, I took a photograph outside and the shutter froze OPEN. We skied Lake Louise that day at -15.

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And here’s some really good context. This is a backpacking trip to the Desolation Wilderness the year we got married over the weekend of the 4th of JULY. (yea, we usually still had snow in July)

So tonight we are headed out into the blistery chaos to dinner at a friend’s house and tomorrow headed up to take the girl’s skiing. Looking forward to the adventure!!

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~ by gdesign on December 19, 2008.

One Response to “Weatherwise”

  1. ha ha ha…I remember when I was in college. I got stuck downtown because it began to snow (just lightly) and all the buses stopped running. We had to walk back to campus and classes were cancelled the next day because people couldn’t/wouldn’t come into the city. Love the pictures.

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