Monday, December 15, 2008

Why Texas, sub-freezing weather and precipitation don't mix

For anyone who doesn't live in Texas, and has ever heard the phrase "if you don't like the weather in Texas, just wait a few hours and it will change," I assure you this is true.

There was a point yesterday when I had to turn on my air conditioner because 78 degrees in the house without air circulating is just too warm. Outside it was 70+ yesterday. Then there was this morning. Let's just say that all day today, the temperature literally barely made it above freezing.

Dreaming of a white Christmas is a nice sentiment, but if it is going to snow thick and all of everything better close down. For those of you who have not experienced winter in Texas, let me give you a little lesson (becuase you know people from all over the world are reading this blog).

It's not that we never see snow in Texas. We do. We see the flakes all pretty in the air, but when it snows, it never accumulates. You see, when it snows, it's usually not quite cold enough to stick because it's like 34 degrees and melts. Or it didn't sleet before hand to make the ground cold to make it stick.

We don't have the opportunity to try driving on snow. We have to deal with driving on ice. Because when it does get below freezing, for whatever meteorological reason, we don't get snow, we get slain or sneet. What are slain and sneet, you ask? Slain is freezing rain or a cross between sleet and rain. Sneet is a cross between snow and sleet that melts then refreezes. Oh, I'm watching the news - it was actually freezing drizzle that was falling earlier. Frizzle.

And it takes oh so little frizzle, slain and sneet to make a mess. Icy patches on all the bridges and overpasses form very easily. And if you are driving in a city such as Dallas, there are lots of bridges and overpasses.

Oh, and in case you haven't heard, people in Texas drive like maniacs. This is just a fact. And traffic in the DFW area can be quite treacherous at times. So you get maniacs who are maniacs without ice on ice during a high traffic time... Let's just say that that the wrecker services and police earn their pay.

I had to go to Fort Worth this afternoon. The location I had to go to usually takes me an hour and twenty minutes, maybe an hour and half to get to. (Would have only taken me that long to get there today, but I had to stop at Target to buy some socks because the ones I had on weren't thick enough.) While I was in my appointment, it precipitated. It took me three hours to get home tonight.

It took me over an hour and half to get 12, maybe 15 miles on I-20 before I could finally exit onto 287 due to traffic, ice and accidents. At one point I was stopped, eased off my brakes and realized it was a good thing the shoulder was to my right because as I lift my foot, my back bumper slides to the right, and my front goes to the left. I get back stopped and just think to myself, "well, I guess I'm going to have to stay here with my foot on the brake and turn on my hazard lights until sometime tomorrow when the temperature rises to about 35 because I admit I don't know everything. I don't know how I'm going to get off this piece of ice." That was the first of two ice spots I know for a fact I was on during my 82 mile drive home.

I'm just glad my office is about 3 miles away and there is only one bridge I have to cross to get there (it's always nicely sanded if there is a a possibility of it freezing). It's supposed to rain, sleet, frizzle, and slain tonight. If I lived in Dallas or Ft. Worth, I would just have to call in sick.

By the way, it's supposed to be 70 degrees again on Thursday.

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