Bad timing

I just looked up all bleary-eyed from staring at papers all day to notice that we suddenly have an inch or so of snow piled up on the ground. I was wondering why my wife was so late getting home from work — she’s probably creeping along on slushy roads trying to make it home safely.

And—oh, no—I have to drive to Minneapolis tomorrow!


  1. Nerd of Redhead says

    Only an inch. Not bad. Shouldn’t be much of a problem by morning if they salt. At least you don’t have stop lights every 0.25 miles like where I live.

  2. says

    No snow here. In fact, 99.99 percent of the snow fell in the Dakotas. And Morris.

    We did however have several miniature tornadoes attacking my daughter’s school, apparently. Lots of trees down in the T.C. as well. The pivot point of your storm is right here.

  3. Burning Umbrella says

    The elders have told us stories about this “snow”, but I always dismissed them as fairytales…

  4. Wowbagger says

    Reminds me – it’s about time I watched Fargo again. The top-down shot of the snow-covered car lot is mindblowing.

  5. DaveL says

    Is Minnesota like Michigan, where everybody seems to have to re-learn how to drive in snow… Every… Single… Winter?

  6. 'Tis Himself says

    Many people don’t realize it, but the American Midwest has the same climate as central Siberia. Look at a globe or world map and you’ll see they’re very similar geographically: A large mountain range (Rockies or Urals) to the west, in the middle of a large continent, and nothing but flat all the way to the North Pole.

  7. spgreenlaw says

    I love the snow; it is just a shame that shoveling always seems to follow. Connecticut has a ways to go before we start getting the white stuff, I think.

  8. Jeanette says

    Burning Umbrella @5: You’ve never heard of snow? Well, now I have to go off on you…

    Just kidding. Keep working on it. ;-D

  9. ShadowWalkyr says

    I was stationed near Spokane for two years, and another in South Korea. As I recall, an inch of snow is only a minor difficulty.

    It’s the inch of ice you’ll have to deal with in the morning that has me worried.

  10. Carl Troein says

    @#8 DaveL: From my experience almost every place on earth is like that. Rumour has it that in northern Sweden they are not surprised, though experience tells me that in the southern end of that country many people still drive (or slide, as it were) around on summer tires well after weather and calendar have made them illegal. A reasonable hypothesis is that it takes exactly 6 or so months for a person to remember all about how to drive on snow and ice, let alone how expensive it was to have the car pulled out of a ditch (or someone’s kitchen) last winter. Makes me happy my family doesn’t have a car anymore.

  11. amphiox says

    ‘Tis Himself #9:

    But aren’t the latitudes in question significantly more southerly?

    Now Saskatchewan, Canada, on the other hand. . . .

  12. says

    #8 Posted by DaveL on November 6, 2008 at 8:01 PM:

    Is Minnesota like Michigan, where everybody seems to have to re-learn how to drive in snow… Every… Single… Winter?

    Well, at least they aren’t like the drivers here in San Antonio. Drivers here, never learn to drive in snow. Worse yet, though, they have to relearn how to drive in the rain – every time it rains. Even if it rains twice in one day…

    For snow they just shut the city down until it goes away.


  13. says

    At least you’re driving to Minneapolis. I’ll be driving from the Twin Cities to Hackensack, along with all the other would-be Bambi’s mom killers. Traffic will be bad enough without snow.

  14. Aphrodine says

    Michigan has been having unseasonable warm weather, but Mr. WeathermanTVGuy says that you assholes will be sending your crappy weather our way. :[ I am not amused.

  15. Xavier says

    Quoth Burning Umbrella @ #5

    The elders have told us stories about this “snow”, but I always dismissed them as fairytales…

    It appears you are also a climate denier!
    (as well as a poe-t)

  16. 'Tis Himself says

    amphiox #17:

    But aren’t the latitudes in question significantly more southerly?

    Visit Kansas, Nebraska or Missouri in February. You won’t find much difference between Omaha and Saskatoon in either temperature, wind chill, or depth of snow.

  17. Itzac says

    Wow, now that the election is over, it’s nice to be able to talk about the weather.

    All season tires and a healthy buffer between you and the car ahead are usually enough to get you there safely. I once drove a rented Echo through an April blizzard in Alberta without any trouble, though I was doing 60km/h the whole way. I passed several 4WD trucks in the ditch, and I’m fairly certain at least one of them had blown past me moments before.

  18. says

    It doesn’t snow in the Central Valley that runs up California’s middle for most of its north-south length, but it rains. And, sure enough, we have millions of drivers for whom each and every rainy season appears to be their first. They go hydroplaning by on the freeway without a care in the world until there’s a curve in the road. Then they’re no longer with us — unless you were unlucky enough to have been taken along with them.

    And in the southern part of the valley, the stretch between Fresno and Bakersfield, the cotton-thick tule fog is unfortunately no deterrent to those who are in a hurry to get to their destination (which is often the morgue). Stay home when California fogs up. No reason is good enough to go out driving in that stuff.

  19. Nerd of Redhead says

    Is Minnesota like Michigan, where everybody seems to have to re-learn how to drive in snow… Every… Single… Winter?

    I made a point to keep the car garaged during the first snow storm when I lived in the UP. The downstaters and their muscles cars were dangerous to be near. Once I saw one RWD car hit his accelerator and his back end slid into a parked car with just a slightly snow covered road. Scary.

  20. Uvifera says

    What are you doing in Minneapolis? I go to school in Minneapolis and I missed Marlene Zuk speak this week which I was bummed about (classes too often get in the way of my education), but if you were to be speaking publicly tomorrow I would certainly be in the audience!

    Or perhaps you are going to Minneapolis to attend the creationist lecture in the physics building? It’d be a pity to miss that one!

  21. Ouchimoo says

    Hmm Still raining here. Which I think will be worse. Nothing like driving through the cities on ice. Hopefully you don’t have to drive down here too early and all the mess is dried up.

  22. Bob Vogel says

    I live in Palin’s back yard, Anchorage,… however, slighty more up the hill, better view and all, you know.

    We’re cold, around 18, but only 6″ or so of snow. Still waiting for the big dump…

    as well as January 20th and what lies ahead.

  23. Patricia says

    Rain in my corner of Oregon. My girls managed to lay eight eggs today, but I don’t know how. They spent half the day being blown sideways in the wind.

  24. Katrina says

    Rainy and 70F here in Naples, Italy. It was in the 80’s last week, so maybe we’re going to start seeing winter weather here at last.

  25. Falyn says

    Until I moved to college in central PA (and now NYC since May), I had spent all my winters in southern California.

    Oh, sure, I’d *seen* snow before. It was something cool, something different, something you had to drive to the mountains to see and ski on and wheeeeee! I never saw slush or sleet or storms, as trips were planned for the days the weather was decent.

    I still haven’t gotten used to it being normal. I still haven’t gotten used to the fact that, say, your front porch could be a hostile enough environment to probably kill you in one night if you fell asleep on it. I mean, seriously, WTF??

    Intellectually I’m aware that places get colder than -10 F on a regular basis (about the coldest it ever got, for a few days each year, at that campus). Sweet ceiling cat on an invisible pogo stick, I could never, ever, evereverever live in one of them!

  26. MikeM says

    I went for a bike ride today — in shorts.

    I admit, though, it was a stretch. It was just under 70 degrees. Pretty cold. I might have to wear tights starting next week.


    (But I’m not lying.)

  27. says

    Supposed to be 79 today here, then 71 on Saturday. Typical weather for these parts. Last time it snowed on the coast I was in 8th grade, and that was before most of you were born.

    Fun is when you’re on Mission Blvd in Mission Beach when there’s a spring tide, a storm surge, the street is below sea level, and the waves are splashing over the seawall. And then heavy rains start to fall as the pumps fail. People living in the area keep surfboards and kayaks just for such occasions.

  28. negentropyeater says

    Beautiful sunny day here in Barcelona Spain, 18ºC (65ºF), after the rain we had these past few days, perfect to go walking in the forest with my dog searching for mushrooms.

  29. Ompompanoosuc says

    I don’t think you can say “piled up” for an inch of snow. We call that a “dusting” and in the winter it happens almost every day. Last year I drove home from work when my front bumper was plowing it on a full size truck. Yes, ON the road.

    Rain? Puuuuhhllleeeeeeez.

  30. dean says

    Bob Vogel:
    Can you see, from your higher elevation, whether it’s begun to snow in Russia?

  31. says

    I miss the snow. I lived in Jacskon Hole, WY for about 10 years in the 90’s and there was nothing better than waking up to a couple feet of new snow on Teton Pass. Tele-turns are that much better in fresh powder up to your chin. Though I doubt the skiing is very good in MN.

    We don’t get much snow in Charleston, SC.

  32. Natalie says

    I don’t know if PZ got the same stuff we’re getting here this morning, but if he is than it’s kind of a gloppy snow rain mix. The visibility was actually worse than regular dry snow, IMO.

    The weather itself doesn’t really freak me out – it’s the idiots who drive like nothing has changed. Tailgating in particular bothers me all year round, but it only really scares me in the winter.

  33. Ranxerox says

    I got over 3″ of the white and fluffy at my place by last night.

    Woo hoo.

    Almost went out and built a snowperson.

  34. pubcat says

    Its was a minimum of 21 celcius over night here, and its 27 degrees celcius before 9am. Oh Queensland, what a summer we are in for.

    (ahas anyone else noticed that we are a bunch of strangers online, discussing the weather…just thought I would mention)

  35. Doug the Primate says

    1 inch = 2.54 cm of snow. That is enough to be dangerous, depending on the type of snow. PZ, pack lots of chocolate, matches, candles and a tin can in your car. And travel safely: we’d hate to lose you.

    For other readers around the world not familiar with “types of snow”, I’ll briefly describe. If the snow is fine, powdery and wind-driven, visibility can drop to a few metres within seconds, but otherwise is slow to accumulate, although drifting can be a frequent local hazard. If the snow is wet and heavy, even a little bit can quickly turn to ice with any accumulation at all. Lots of combinations around these, including ice pellets mixed with snow, here in southern Canada. Depends on the air-water mix in the altitude at which the snow forms and the temperature gradients through which it falls, and a lot of that depends on wind velocities at different altitudes, especially here in the lee of the Great Lakes.

    I can’t talk about different snow types on the Prairies, the Tundra, the Arctic, or the Maritimes, but others can. Canada is just too darn’ big for one person to say it all.