Our next truck will have 4 wheel drive and our next house will be in the suburbs.
Those are the two main lessons of Snowpocalypse 2010, a storm that I suppose will go down in memory like the Halloween blizzard of 1991, except that it actually happened during winter, which means it may just be subsumed into the general misery of Minnesota’s famous season.
The first lesson may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget that while we average 45.6″ of snow a year (source: Minnesota Climatology Working Group), it is usually spread out over five months (6-9″ per month, November through March). This makes for easy driving and quick clearing by the legions of plow trucks in the state’s employ.
Snow tires on the rear-wheel drive truck have been adequate (even good) for the last 3 seasons, but these conditions proved to be too much. It didn’t help that our street didn’t see a plow until about 6:30 PM Sunday, over 24 hours after the last snow fell.
Just north of our house (by one block) is another city (as pictured at right), and it was with great frustration that I saw that the side streets north of the boundary were already plowed curb-to-curb by Sunday afternoon, while south of it (just 50 feet away! at bottom of photo) snow was piled up as if on a backcountry road.
Mrs. Melobi was sick all weekend and I didn’t have anywhere to go, so I was content to stay home, but by midday Sunday the cabin fever was starting to set in. Maddeningly, I saw cars drive by that had no right to be in snow that deep, and yet seemed to be traversing the shin-deep ruts without difficulty. I knew, though, that either of our vehicles would be doomed should I dare venture out of the driveway – and I raged. It was almost as if everyone else was driving in a world with different physical laws. How else would that little Toyota Corolla be driving around in a blizzard? How did that minivan survive, when the snow between the ruts was up to the grill and the woman driving had the gas pedal to the floor, tires howling on packed snow as she plowed that snow at 5 miles per hour (with the speedo at 40 or 50)?
Maybe the difference wasn’t physics but foolhardiness – with nowhere to go and the risk so high, my mind boggled at the prospect of even making the attempt. But next time, it won’t be an issue, since we’ll be living in a suburb that plows.