Last night an inch of snow fell lightly onto Seattle. I love the way snow feels when you walk across it, the reassuring crunch under your shoe, the sense of the exotic. I also love the way it quickly leaves the roads and footpaths, but gives a pretty white cover over the rooftops, and decorates the bushes in people's gardens, giving the city such a beautiful veil. I don't love what snow does to Seattle's transport network.
Being from Australia, I don't really know much about snow, so I can't be too quick to judge. Just based on physics though, I would have guessed that snow falling onto roads covered with water from a heavy rain followed by a night of sub-zero temperatures might result in a layer of ice covering the roads. From the frantic noises outside, not everyone came to the same conclusions.
One after another, the cars start driving up 40th Avenue, reach the hill, sit their with the wheels uselessly spinning, then the car starts slowly gliding backwards down the hill, wheels motionless as they serenely wave goodbye to friction. It is not a busy road, so there have been no crashes so far, but I wonder just what makes these people continue trying to drive? Doesn't the fact that they have no control over their car bother them? Or will they honestly be surprised when they have an accident? There have already been a dozen car accidents today. Unlike other northern cities, Seattle only snows once or twice a year. Still, can't everyone remember back to when this happened last year?
I'm waiting at home for a little while this morning. The morning buses also seem to be surprised at the ice, reaching the hill on 40th before turning back to the depot to go and get chains fitted.