Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Secret Message to The South

It snowed yesterday. Today I drove over 30 miles to "the lab," and the roads were fine. The freeway looks sort of like this. (That white stuff you see on the lanes of the road? That would be salt. Also, it's a bit hazy/misting. But not snowing.)

And yet all the local public schools are closed again today. Allow me to share some thoughts on this:
  1. For this much snow, I can assure you that no one from the Niskayuna Central Schools would even think about closing (or delaying) school. Two days off for an inch and a half of snow? Crazy.

  2. Get the tires that say M+S, and you will be more likely to be able to drive when there are small amounts of snow and ice on the road. People in the north drive all the time on roads that have small amounts of snow and ice on them. Slow down and don't tailgate, and you will be fine. Small amounts of snow are not deal-breakers when it comes to driving.

  3. You are now on Snow Day #5. You say that you have to close the schools for snow because you don't have proper snow clearing equipment because it doesn't snow around here. When you need to close the schools FIVE DAYS (where I'm from in upstate NY they budget for three snow days), then, yes, you do live somewhere that gets enough snow to justify buying snow removal equipment. And while we've had more snow this year than we've had in the past, this is not the only year that has had a lot of really lame snow days as a result of very lame snow. They make really quite decent plow, salt, and sand attachments for the dump trucks that the public works department likely already owns. It's not like you need to buy those specialized snowbank shaving wing plows that the New York Department of Transportation deploys on the Thruway near Syracuse. Our city had a budget surplus this year and decided to put in a pedestrian bridge instead of investing in boring stuff like equipment for the public works crew.

  4. Also, the schools may be closed but everything else is open. This also makes no sense to me. If everyone else can get where they're going, then why not teachers and students?

  5. Related: I do not know all that much about physics, but I will hazard a guess that the physics of a large, heavy school bus on the road is different from that of your own personal car. When I was growing up the way that they would decide if there was a snow day is that the bus drivers would show up at work and then drive the school buses around in the snow. If the school buses could manage on the roads, then school would be open. Otherwise it would be closed. Yes, this means that the decision whether to close school was often made as little as 30 minutes before school started. My dad bought a crystal with the bus driver radio frequency and put it in one of our scanner radios, so we would always be among the first to know if school was closed.