Tuesday, March 10, 2009, 5:30 p.m. Snow Day. Schools closed all day. By noon today, the Courthouse was closed, businesses were closed and closing (except the grocery stores, with long lines at the check-out counters), freeways closed, highways going west were closed. Our little city was shutting down. Snow flying, wind blowing, temperatures dropping, travel not advised. At 1:30, the order on my job was "close the shop -- go home and drive carefully." Hey, this is a genuine March blizzard, a snow day even for a few adults who work outside the schools.
Already this afternoon, a casual gathering of four couples, friends with an afternoon off, for coffee, grasshopper pie and stories of storms of the past, going up the wrong direction and anticipation of a basketball game on TV tonight.
Thanks to our just started Daylight Saving Time, now at 5:45 p.m., it's still daylight outside, so we can watch the snow blowing horizontally and piling into streets, driveways and drifts in the yard. At this point, it's about 6" -- 8" deep and still coming. The plow guys will be busy tonight, but they won't make much progress until the storm stops.
I just wheeled our garbage trolley out to the curb for pick up tomorrow morning, but I know the schedule will be set back for a day. The walk to the curb and back was instruments only navigation because the snow blowing at ground level has created a "white out" situation.
As I sit here, I hear a plane roar overhead. I sure hope he's taking off to fly somewhere else, because if he's planning to land here, he won't see the ground until first bounce.
March blizzards are generally warm and wet with temperatures around 30o. The temperature now is -1o and it feels more like January than March. This will be no night to go off the road or get stuck.
East of here, Duluth is predicted to get up to 12" of snow tonight. The predictions for our area is up to 10". The predictions are more dire west of here and have generally been very accurate with regard to this storm. What we're hoping is that all the trucks pull off the highways and all the folks get where they have to be before dark and people can hunker down, warm and safe until the snow stops and the plows clear the path for safe driving.
It is well known that school kids love snow days. I know one senior adult who still talks about calling the radio station one stormy morning when he was in high school and announcing that local schools would be closed that day. This was in the 1950's. As a result, they were closed that day. The process is much more student-proof these days, so it probably can't happen again. But on any given snowy day, if you put the question to the students for a vote, 99 percent would vote in favor of calling a snow day and closing the schools.
Now it's time for a brief moment of honesty. It's not just the kids who enjoy a snow day. Among the eight adults gathered this afternoon, there was not one gloomy face or a single dissenting voice about a casual afternoon outside the box. It was as though Mother Nature had blessed each of us with a small school-kid bonus.
But we all know that on March 10, the first day of spring is only 10 days away and that the ice, snow shovels and wind chill will be all behind us and nothing but warm breezes, tulips and robins ahead. Happy spring everybody.