Friday, February 12, 2021


My son north of Houston may get snow on Monday.  He is from NH, his girlfriend from outside of Pittsburgh so they find the actions of everyone else amusing.  The school system, for example, has sent out a bulletin with a list of emergency numbers including the National Hurricane Center, the Houston Flood Warning system, and the Hurricane Preparedness guide. Their friends in the north are reminding them that proper preparation includes running out in a panic to get milk and bread.Dunkin' Donuts is seriously missing a trick here by not installing the idea in people's minds that they should also go get donuts and coffee, because God Only Knows when you will get out again.

I mentioned recently that CS Lewis's love of the quiddity of weather is not so exciting as one would think, given the very moderate character of English weather.  As here.


Mike Guenther said...

Milk and bread are comfort foods, I guess. PB&J sammiches chased down with a glass of cold milk, I guess.

It's the same here in the upstate of SC. Hint of snow and bread and milk are decimated. Another big seller is kidney beans for chili. Sometimes you have to fight someone for the last six cans on the shelf.

Texan99 said...

Houston rarely sees a freeze, and very very rarely a freeze that lasts more than a few minutes after sunrise. If it really goes down to 12 degrees on Monday, it's going to be mayhem. Houses aren't built to protect pipes in exterior walls. No one has any idea at all how to drive on ice.

Even here south of Houston and right on the coast, we're expecting mid-20's. I'm afraid our citrus trees are toast! But we'll muddle through somehow.

They say Austin will go down to 1 degree above zero.

Christopher B said...

We had a similar reaction on moving to Louisville from Iowa back in 2013 when sveral nights had lows around 0, above and below. I remember a period in the 1990s when the *high* in eastern Iowa didn't get above zero for over a week, and that's pretty far south for those kind of temps.

Douglas2 said...

In southern USA and Europe, when I've driven in snowy weather my only difficulty has been making sure that I wasn't hit by out-of-control other drivers.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Our daughter-in-law sent out an Instagram of our granddaughter throwing a cup of hot water in the air in 17 degrees below zero, freezing almost instantly.

james said...

When I took my driving test, I was an incompetent parallel parker. I fretted that I'd flunk when the tester discovered how many back and forths I'd need to get the car in. I didn't start well--turning on the wipers instead of the headlights--but after that things went fairly smoothly. Literally--we'd had freezing rain that night and the side roads were quite slick.
The instructor had a standard test course in mind, and I think he realized a little too late that one leg of it was downhill with a stop sign at the bottom--and it was all ice.
I guess he figured that if I could stop correctly on an icy street he wasn't going to worry about parallel parking.

I can't complain about the cold, though--I'd get laughed at by my co-workers.

My New Orleans uncle took a home movie of their dog jumping around in the snow--a whole inch worth. I'm told the snow didn't last till noon, but the city shut down for it.

RichardJohnson said...

Guess that Anthropogenic Global Warming will take a break in Texas for now, but return by August. :)

I've kept the indoor temperature below 60 most of the 24 hours. Turn the heat off at night, at a minimum. Makes it similar to the New England winter house temperatures of my childhood.

Aggie said...

Southerners take a lot of cheap heat from northerners when it comes to cold weather. It's true northern winters are a lot more severe, but they are equipped for it, out of hard experience with long, sub-freezing winters. It's really a bit differently treacherous when the weather fluctuates around freezing rather than being solidly one side or the other. That's why mud season is so miserable in the spring, up north. But down here, it'll go back and forth all winter long. Add a little freezing rain, and you get spectacular pileups on warm-weather highways like Fort Worth just had.

As Tex says, nothing is made for the long-term cold down here. And we haven't seen single digits in my part of Texas for quite a few years. The plumbers will be very busy for the next few weeks. They're forecasting 2° F here, so I'm busy wrapping, covering, and setting up incandescent light bulbs to keep things warm. Back in the 80's we had a hard cold spell that gave me 2" of ice on our stock tank, and that was a plumbing disaster for hundreds of thousands in the HouTex area. Hope it isn't as bad this time. Snow I don't mind at all, but ice storms (shudder).

Assistant Village Idiot said...

That's fair. Temperatures around freezing are indeed more treacherous for driving, and cars do not have snow tires, counties do not have sand and salt, and drivers do not have much experience with the stuff. Even up here, the first ice storm every years seems to take a lot of people by surprise and they drive like idiots. You've got NH plates and I see you bought your car here. You aren't a newcomer. How is it that you forgot what you knew last April?

As for exposure to cold, there are lines one draws about what is reasonable to prepare for. We don't prepare much for hurricanes here, and we only get threats of them every few years. We do often get the downpours in the aftermath. We get a different kind of flooding here, coming on quickly and draining downhill quickly. There is debate how much we should bail out people who built in areas that were flooded out thirty years ago. What is reasonable caution?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Leave water trickling to keep pipes from freezing.

Texan99 said...

Reasonable caution is a cost-benefit guess, one we don't always get right. I could lock myself in my house for the rest of my life for fear of an outbreak of pneumonic plague. I'd get points for foresight if one broke out, and ridicule for wasting my life if it didn't. I don't prepare for meteor strikes, even though one day I may regret it. There's no way to eliminate risk; we can only shift it around a bit, and there will always be opportunity costs for every disaster averted. Too many lost opportunities make for their own kind of disaster.

james said...

“Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it. For them there is no winter food problem. They have fires and warm clothes." Richard Adams

It makes a huge difference when your city budget includes snow plows and experienced people to man them.

Snow can be a problem, but I hate ice. Though, now that I think of snow, I need to replace the handmade snow rake with something with a longer handle that doesn't require climbing a ladder to use. Too much on the roof is bad.

Donna B. said...

I remember removing the chains from my car too soon in NE Texas... late 80s, as the car I was driving was an 1988 Ford LTD. It was on a long, but not especially steep, incline on FM449... The transmission was in drive, speedometer read 40 mph, but the car was sliding backwards. I'm not claiming great driving skills, but somehow managed to get to level ground and get someone to put the chains back on.

There was also the time, December 1971, when my husband and I (because we were so young and... stupid) were driving in Amarillo. We slid sideways at slow speed into another car, but both were coated with so much ice that no body damage was done to either car.

I grew up in Colorado and as a youngster then, remember snow as being fun. Skiing was fun (except for that one time that the ski patrol brought me down the mountain), cross country snowmobile trips were fun (except for that one time that my Dad didn't notice I fell off). Ice storms are so very different.

Aggie said...

The trick for driving on icy roads has a simple, 2-step solution. The first step is not compulsory, but gets you much more than halfway

1. Drive a 4wd truck, preferably with posi-traction, and stay off major highways as much as possible, using secondary roads.
2. As soon as you encounter icy roads, slow down and hang your outside wheels off the pavement and into the dirt. You'll have traction and steering. You'll have to creep across the bridges though, although there's usually enough gravel and dirt along the edges to make it work.

I drove all the way from an iced-up, shut-down drilling rig in far-east Texas to home doing this during the 1980s ice storm.