Tag Archive | Snow

The Edge of January

We have had the wimpiest winter in Rochester, NY in anyone’s memory. Being the transplant that I am, I asked lifelong Rochesterians if they can remember a January where they could go outside with just a sweater. A January where the temperatures barely went below freezing. They can’t.

But this warm winter seems no less longer then the cold snowy ones. It’s just dull. There are no bragging rights when you are stuck with a wimpy winter.

There is just the weak light. The sun is runny in the sky, like a pale broken egg yolk in a pan:

There is no point to winter in Western New York if  you can’t tell people elsewhere how you had to remove snow off your roof with a roof rake for fear of it caving in or have icicles hanging off the eaves of your house the height of a professional basketball player.

It’s just not winter if you can’t build your own igloo on the front lawn:

we have not yet experienced any significant storms or accumulations.

The official snowfall count for the season: 18.9 inches.

How much snow should have normally fallen by now? 55.7 inches.

In years past, it  was if we were living in a snow globe.

It would snow  a few inches every day for weeks at a time.

But not this winter. Everyone is missing the snow:

  • Up on Lake Ontario, the Webster Ridge runner snowmobiling club has had to suspend its season because off lack of snow.
  • My daughter’s youth group trip to go snow tubing was cancelled.
  • My daughter also joined the high school cross country ski team this winter.  At best, she has skied on the slushy man-made snow at Bristol Mountain. At worst, her team has spent the winter jogging outside or practicing on roller skis. 

Ironically, in one of the few strong winter systems that passed through, our school district cancelled all sport practices, including cross-country skiing. Imagine that, ski practice was cancelled on account of SNOW!

But last night we were hit with several bands of fast moving lake-effect snow squalls. One particularly strong squall showed off its wintry moxy with a show of snow thunder and lightening that is completely out of place in the middle of winter.

Now, this is more like it:

Ice Cubes in the Toilet and other Tips to make a Snow Day

Tonight, my kids will most likely go to bed wearing their pajamas inside out. The youngest will have tucked a spoon underneath his pillow.  My daughter told me that at middle school, the bets were already on at school today as to whether tomorrow would be a snow day. After all, that storm that slammed the midwest has now put Rochester in a “persistent band of lake effect snow.”  And here in Rochester, we may be getting 1-2 feet of this lake effect snow. All this snow, yet not a single weather report has used the word “storm” or “blizzard.” 

When my oldest children were very small, I feared that they would grow up without having a chance to play in the snow. Their first winters in New Jersey passed with hardly a flake.  Then, we moved to Rochester.

Moving to the snowiest metropolitan area in the lower 48 meant that we would have plenty of chances for snowball fights and snowman building. We also needed to adjust our perception of what constitutes a significant snowfall.

You see, we started our family in New Jersey, in the land of 2-inch snowfall snow days. One morning, when my daughter attended preschool at the Scotch Plains JCC, I bundled her up, along with her infant brother, to go to preschool. I traversed 2-inch snow-covered roads, only to find the building was closed.

Fast forward to a year later,  One morning, after a three-inch overnight snowfall, I actually called my daughter’s preschool – this time at the JCC of Greater Rochester – to see if it was open.

I think I heard the director silence a chuckle as she politely told me that schools here don’t close unless there is at least 18 inches of snow.

For schoolchildren and adults alike, nothing is more exciting than the possibility of a snow day.  And when I moved to Rochester, I thought that we would be having a lot of those days that are like gifts from God. Snow days are like God’s way of telling you to slow down, sleep in, stay warm, bake cookies. 

Well, the Rochester School District seems to care little about what God wants, because nary a snow day have we had since living up here in the snowbelt.

It’s been 11 years and my husband has yet to have a snow day from work. No, wait. The only “snow day” at his job had been in the summer. Why?  It wasn’t because of snow. Contrary to popular belief, it does NOT snow in Rochester in July.

It was a tree that fell on a transformer and blew the power out at his office.

So, on snowy days, my husband braves the snow. He plows himself out of the driveway in the dark of the morning, and then plows to get back in the driveway in the dark of the evening.

Rochesterians are very lucky to have the equipment it takes to fight against Old Man Winter.   Brighton tax dollars – more than half a million each year — are hard at work so in the early morning hours, I can hear the sounds of snowplows large and small clearing our roads and sidewalks.

So, before I go to bed tonight, I will check the forecast one more time. And if I hear those blessed three words “Brighton Schools Closed” on the radio tomorrow morning , I know will be too excited to go back to sleep.  

But I know school will be on tomorrow.

In spite of the spoons

and the inside-out pajamas.

and the ice cubes placed in the toilet.

Because, in reality, it’s just too early in the season to cancel school tomorrow. After all, technically, it is still Autumn.  And this is Rochester.

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