Snow in Austin

Snow in Austin
Originally uploaded by xadrian
It closed down the city!

We had 1/2" of snow on Tuesday and it shut our southern asses down. Farther north in Dallas and surround areas, they had a respectable couple inches, but they're used to that. Amarillo gets some mean storms as well so it's not like Texas is ignorant of snow.

But in Central Texas, we don't get much. I don't even have to take off my shoes to count the number of times Austin has seen snow in the decade I've been here. Even ice storms are infrequent though more likely. There's also this weird atmospheric bubble over Austin and its metro area; we don't get a lot of storms. I know storms are basically a disturbance in the air - cold air falling, warm air rising, dry air mixing with moisture. But it seems the added heat of a metro area further disturbs the storms into nothing and once a line reaches us it's strength has left it. We always seem to get the tail end of the big storms; the last throes, the southern tip of the front, the remaining rainfall from something that opened up a bit out to the west. We're too far inland to worry about gulf weather and too far south to worry about tornadoes. We're in this pocket of stability that's pretty boring meteorologically speaking.

Which is probably why my office shut down after it snowed for 10 minutes. Which is probably why schools and businesses were on a two hour delayed opening even though it was nearly 50 degrees and sunny outside. Which is why I think it's hilarious that despite the actual weather going on outside, the city sends out sanding trucks.

Now I know there's a danger of overpasses icing up, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that at 35° it's not going to happen. Once the snow stops, there's no moisture. Once it starts warming up, there's no ice. Austin panicked like an overprotective parent and a vaguely rug-burned knee. I had a friend tell me he had to shovel 6 inches of show just to get to work.

For those that don't know, I grew up in Colorado and if there's one thing I know about, it's snow. My mom and dad both taught me different lessons on driving and they both taught me that if you can drive in the snow, you can drive anywhere. But their point was also, don't drive in the snow. What happened in Austin yesterday was no where near what I've seen even on the lightest of days in Denver. What happened in Austin was visible rainfall. The streets didn't ice over and by that night even, before the sun had completely set, the "storm" had passed.

The fact that they closed schools the next day was just...well it was kind of fucking retarded.

Sorry Austin, it just was. You won't close the city for SXSW, which has a much larger impact, but a few snowflakes and you send out the sand trucks and shut down schools? This isn't Louisiana where we can get away with shutting down for Mardi Gras, this is fluke snow fall. Go outside, get a couple on your tongue, and get back to what you were doing. It's not radioactive, it's not going to bury anyone in giant drifts. It's softly falling moisture.

I feel as though my city let me down by this. Sorry to anyone else if you heard news of our baby storm. DC had Snowpocolypse, we had Snow Big Deal.

Carry on.


Martin W. said...

I agree about closing the schools (and some businesses) the day after the storm being silly. But it sure was nice to sleep in for once! :)

Oh, and just for the record, north Austin and P-ville got close to 2 inches of snow! It was amazing!

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