We got a dusting a few days ago, but that was it. It is remaining cold-ish for a few more days (30s-50s) than originally forecast, but that's all. As is typical for Memphis, the worst weather hits farther east (Nashville, Birmingham and beyond).
We may get more tonight and tomorrow, though.
Years of pining for snow days when I was in school have made me a permanent skeptic about accumulation, Tim! :)
Slate has a first-hand account from a truck driver who was still stuck in that traffic jam on Interstate 95 when they spoke to her: “'Everything Was Cool Until We Got Into Virginia'"
Speaking of snow days, about a year ago, when schools everywhere turned to remote learning because, y'know, COVID, it was said that there never would be snow days again.
Not so; several jurisdictions around here closed yesterday and today and will be closed tomorrow and maybe Friday. Partly because of the snow making it impossible for pupils and teachers and staff to get to the buildings; partly because said teachers and staff need some time to prepare; partly because, y'know, COVID; and partly because lots of bus drivers are out sick (because, y'know, COVID).
Also, one guy flew from San Francisco to Dulles Airport and got in an Uber to ride home to Richmond, which would typically take one-and-a-half to two hours. It took nine. Uber charged him $200 for the ride, which is not out of line -- but then, in an example of capitalism at its finest, tacked on a $400 surcharge.
Update: Uber gave the guy a full refund.
He meant to fly from D.C. to Richmond, but the flight was canceled, which is why he took Uber, which turned into a 14-hour ride. He paid the driver $300 -- two bills for the ride, plus a hundred for a tip -- but the surcharge was an egregious insult, given the circumstances. Uber will refund the fare and surcharge, and the driver keeps the tip.
One odd story from the traffic jam: Two people were stuck behind a bakery truck from Baltimore, so they emailed the company's customer service department and asked if it could be shared with the stranded motorists. The company agreed.
From WRC-TV, NBC4 Washington: "Sharing the Loaves: How a Bread Truck Stuck on I-95 Fed Dozens of Stranded People"
And after 27 hours, Interstate 95 is cleared. This was an avoidable mess, and the finger-pointing has begun. Virginia isn't like, say, Minnesota or upstate New York. There are winters in which the entire snowfall from December to March is less than six inches, and some when it doesn't snow at all. But it does snow often enough that the VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) should have been better prepared and should have handled it better.
Reports are that VDOT didn't salt or brine the highways beforehand because it was raining, which would have just washed it away. Fine. But then, they said when the snow fell, it came faster and harder and there was more of it than expected. What, they weren't listening to Storm Team 4 like everybody else here?
And then, they didn't close the interstate to prevent more drivers from joining the mayhem. Plus, all the drivers who tried to get off the interstate went to side roads and back roads that also hadn't been treated and plowed, and got stuck too. And a lot of the drivers ran out of gas while trying to keep warm.
Worst of all, many drivers complained that they were there for hours with no alerts or updates from VDOT.
But it could have been worse. Washington Post op-ed writer Charles Lane posits this nightmare scenario: "Opinion: Imagine Virginia’s Icy Traffic Catastrophe — But with Only Electric Vehicles."
With the old-fashioned internal congestion engine vehicles you could fill an empty gas tank in minutes, jump-start a dead battery, or change it out, and send the driver on his or her way. But in electric vehicles, the batteries lose power in cold weather, and even when it's not cold, they take hours to charge. Can you imagine having to tow away hundreds upon hundreds of vehicles to get the highway clear?
Uh oh. I’m usually in the electric-is-the-future crowd, but I hadn’t thought of that.
Whereas, here on Long Island, I haven't seen a single snowflake so far this winter, which the latest I've ever gone in a winter without seeing any.
Daily Kos rebuts the notion that electric cars would have been stuck: "Washington Post Imagines Electtric Cars Stuck in Snow Instead of Gas Ones, Just Like Trolls Online"
We got our second dusting of "wintry mix" today in Memphis. No accumulation, as expected. Schools canceled anyway!
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