Winter Storm Seneca Blows Through


Last night I participated on panel about Women In Secularism for Campus Atheists Humanists and Skeptics at the University of Minnesota. My fellow panelists were Stephanie Zvan, Niki Massey – who did a guest post for Biodork a few months ago – and Chelsea Du Fresne. It was awesome – there were a lot of thoughtful questions from the (mostly male) audience. We had a chance to talk about microaggressions, how to build and support diversity in organizations, and how to recognize when you might be dealing with an MRA.

The snow had started to fall at about 1pm yesterday afternoon. The snowflakes were big and fluffy and full of water – perfect snowman snow! When we left the panel at about 10pm, we had acquired several inches of snow. But this is Minnesota and the plows were on high alert; many of the major roads had been cleared at least once.


We did have a bit of an adventure as we were coming down the University Avenue on-ramp to 35W South:

State Trooper, lights flashing, parked in the middle of the on-ramp. Snow is falling and piled high on the sides of the ramp.

There were three state troopers parked in the middle of the on-ramp. I’m not sure what the situation was, but they cleared it pretty quickly. We were only parked for about 3-5 minutes.

All of the snow is pretty, but the winds have been of concern. When wind blows across a road, it can move a car just enough to disorientate a driver who isn’t paying attention, and the drifting snow can settle in odd places and create unexpected ice patches. However, the “unexpected” part wasn’t really a problem this morning, because the entire road was one gigantic ice patch.

Panorama of a deserted icy residential road at 5:30am

A deserted, icy road in my neighborhood at about 5:30am.

The drive from south Minneapolis to the southwest suburbs was squirrely. The roads were well-plowed but still covered in a sheet of white, so forget about lane markers. Cars found lanes by following tracks left by earlier drivers, made new tracks, or tried to stay relatively in line with the car in front of them. The roads were slick and rough, and I’m very glad that I was able to drag my butt out of bed to avoid rush hour, which is on-going as I write this from my workplace cafeteria. According to the MNDoT website and the conversations I’m hearing in passing from coworkers, it’s not a pretty picture.

On the way in I stopped at a gas station to fuel up:

Gas pump covered in snow

When I arrived at work, plows had done a great job of clearing the parking lot.

4 Plowing the Lot

And the views of the lake and trees behind our office building are gorgeous, as always:

The sun rising behind the trees and lake.

The sun is beginning to rise up from behind the clouds.

Patio tables buried in snow

Patio tables buried in the snow.

Lake is visible in the background, snow-covered trees and bushes, unblemished snow

A conference room with a view.

Comments

  1. machintelligence says

    Have you noticed that the small amount of heat generated by LED traffic lights is inadequate to melt the snow that accumulates on them during blizzard conditions?

  2. Friendly says

    Thanks for the post and the pictures; I’m glad all of the driving was accomplished safely! One nitpick, however:

    When wind blows across a road, it can move a car just enough to disorientate a driver who isn’t paying attention…

    The word is “disorient.” (Sorry, “disorientate” is one of those non-words that really pushes my buttons.)

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