See, we can handle heat. Heat's no problem: you set up cooling centers for folks without air conditioning, you get your roofing crew out early in the morning and late in the day, and you don't go outside without a reason. Heat makes the roads buckle, but it generally doesn't cause them to get slippery. Heat sends people to the emergency room with dehydration, but it won't cause 'em to lose toes and fingers. Ambulances can still run when the temperature's hovering around 108F and the humidity is near 80%.
But we have no snowplows. (Well, I lie: the county where I work has one. The county where I live has none.) Three inches of ice on the roads means that trucks lay down sand and ice melt, the ice melts a bit....and then everything refreezes overnight because there's no way to clear it off the roads. Tuesday night, when this all started, it took me a little over an hour to get home. Last night, after two days of freezing and thawing, it took me over two hours. I drove home on a solid, two-inch-thick slab of mostly-smooth ice.
An ambulance crew coming from way northeast of us took something like four hours to go fifteen miles in this mess--with a critically-ill patient in the box.
Copters? Not flying today. Fire trucks can sort-of make it to where they need to go, but I did see one off in the ditch last night on my way home. The poor police are doing the best they can at blocking off the more treacherous roads, but a lot of their cars are getting stuck, too. Snow tires and chains do jack on ice when it's nine degrees out.
Friends and neighbors, this is how bad it is to move around in an area unprepared for frozen precipitation: Last night, after an hour of skating up and down hills and over bridges, I gave up saying "shit shit shitshitshit you moron what the hell do you think you're doing" to other drivers and just started singing "WHEEE! WHEEEEEEE! YAHOOOOO!" every time I slid. Which was often. And I know how to drive in bad weather.
There are upsides: It's unbelievably quiet. The snow (which just started falling again at a rate of about two inches an hour jeebus grits) is awfully pretty. Max enjoys running around and sliding outside in the yard. Nobody expects you to dress up or be anywhere on time. I can lie around on the couch without guilt. Attila the Trainer has cancelled her appointments for the weekend.
But honestly? I live in Texas primarily to avoid this sort of thing. I don't like having to chip two inches of solid ice off the side of my car at 0400 in subzero windchills just so I can drive forty miles to work at a place that won't even lend me a bed for the night should I decide not to try it again the next day. I get tired of looking like Large Marge ("Worst accident I ever seen!") on my way to work. And my feet are cold.
Oh, well. It's past time for breakfast. I'm going to head out and spear a couple of ptarmigan, or maybe an arctic rabbit or a polar bear, and then make pancakes.