So far this year, the weather has been just incredibly mild; we’d only hit 80+ degrees once prior to this week. Naturally this long string of lovely weather inspired me to save up some household tasks for this week, when I’m out of the office on furlough. And naturally enough, Mother Nature decided to punish me for that decision by making this the week that summer-style weather kicked in. Rather than those upper 70s to do my painting of the bathroom, cleaning out the garage, trimming the hedges, etc… I get upper 80s with a high enough humidity to make it feel like upper 90s. Of course, that’s just in the morning; this afternoon the prediction is for the temps to reach 95 degrees.

Blech.  This is like the North Carolina summers of my youth. I didn’t handle hot weather very well then and I don’t handle any better now. Double blech.

Given the number of intellectually-challenged persons I had to drive around to get home over lunch today1, I figured it was long past time to write up my best winter weather driving tips.

  1. If the weather looks worse than you feel comfortable driving in, then don’t.  Stay home and save the rest of us some headaches.
  2. When the weather is affecting visibility, turn on your headlights.  Yes, this means you mister white SUV speeding down the road with no headlights during blizzard-like driving conditions.
  3. Clean as much of the snow and ice off your car as you can reach.  This does include the roof & hood of your car as well as the windows.  Failure to clear these areas tends to cause the snow/ice to migrate from them to your windows once you get moving, so all that time you spent clearing the windows suddenly has gone to waste.
    • And you were carefully clearing off all your windows and not just a tiny viewport in the front & back windows, right?
  4. Unless the road is 100% clean and clear, double everybody’s stopping distance and not just yours.
    • When you’re thinking about cutting through a yellow light (or red if you have a death wish), just imagine what will happen if your tires lose traction and somebody is coming the opposite way2.

1 My area is currently under a Winter Weather Advisory and a Blizzard Watch.
2 For those of you lacking in imagination, it’s called a car accident.

Just to let everybody know, we’re still here and doing ok. Our house is approximately 1 mile outside of the 500 year flood plain1, so hopefully we won’t have to evacuate. Our main problem around here at the moment is a lack of usable water. The city only has one well working at the moment, so they can only output about a fourth of what they normally do. I’ve read various reports indicating it will at least a week if not more like 2 or 3 until things start returning to normal. If I get a chance to safely take any photos of the flood, I will do so. However I’m not going to run out and do that right away, as it’s both dangerous and possibly would put me in the way of safety/emergency workers. Those are the sort of people you want happy with you, so I’m not going to go out and do stupid shit to piss them off. 🙂

1 You can view the flood plain area via Google Maps.

The one thing I don’t like about my house would have to be the weather we seem to get around it.  In the 10-12 years I lived in that stupid apartment in Coralville, IA, I only remember going for shelter from tornado warnings maybe 4 or 5 times.  I think we’ve done that many so far this spring alone.  In the house, we hunker down in our basement in the sauna.  Unfortunately the door to the sauna doesn’t close properly so I have to hold it shut.  At the moment I’m doing so by wrapping a belt around the door handle and around my leg.  It sucks.

What sucks worse is while I’m doing it, the weather “reporter” announces that there is no warning for my city but there is for my county and doesn’t clarify WTF she’s talking about.  Never mind I’ve been exhausted all weekend from sinus issues and would love to be asleep in bed, nope.  I’m stuck in a sauna in a basement during a tornado warning with an idiot broadcasting nonsense.  *sigh*

On the bright side, the sauna is small and my lovely wife is with me.  Now if we actually get a proper latch on the door so I don’t have to hold it shut next time this could be kind of cosy.  *grin*

Side note: We brought the cat down with us as well and he’s getting petted by the wife at the moment.  I mostly know this because he’s twitching his tail in bliss and smacking my arm with the tail.

We got hit with a blizzard warning for the weekend and last night things were not looking pretty out the windows. Then about 6:30 PM, the power went out. Fortunately, our house has a fireplace so we were able to stay warm until the power came back on around 1:00 AM this morning. We trooped up to bed, got a few hours rest and then went outside to shovel the sidewalks. *blech* Days like today make me hate having a corner lot (twice the sidewalks to shovel). The sidewalks had 4 layers on them: snow, slush, ice and water. It made shovelling the walk even more hellish than usual. Fortunately we have kind neighbors who lent us their snowblower which got rid of the snow and some of the slush. But that left us with plenty of ice and water. A few hours of backbreaking labor later, we had the sidewalks as clean we were going to get them and came back inside. Gack. You have to love living here; otherwise you go insane. I have the pleasant advantage of not loving it, but keeping my sanity locked in a box so I never lose it. :p