One of the things that sometimes surprises folks who live outside New England is how quickly we dig out from snowstorms here. My mom in Ohio, for instance, will sometimes ask whether we’re still snowed in a week or so after a New England storm that’s grabbed national headlines, and she doesn’t seem to believe me when I insist that even after we’ve gotten a foot or so of snow, life in the greater Boston area typically returns to “winter normal” within a day.
We got about a foot of dense, heavy snow in our latest storm, and although yesterday was a snow day for local schools, by afternoon, the roads were plowed and J had cleared our sidewalks and driveway. I don’t teach face-to-face classes on Wednesdays, so yesterday was a stay-at-home grading day for me, and the only time I ventured outside was in the morning, before much snow had accumulated, and in the evening, when I shoveled a patch of snow inside the entrance to our backyard dog pen so the dogs wouldn’t face a wall of snow when I opened the gate. By this morning, everything was back to normal, the dogs eagerly clambering into their snowy pen and the main roads being clear down to the pavement. Being “snowed in” for a day is pretty much all we allow ourselves here in New England, with everyone returning to work and their usual routines the morning after.
I don’t know if there’s a meteorological basis for this, but it’s often brilliantly sunny the day after a snowstorm. This means you’ll be rewarded if you dig out quickly, as today’s sunshine will finish the work you started yesterday. After every snowfall, you’ll see an occasional “Masshole” driving with a foot of snow atop his vehicle, but anyone who isn’t either new to New England or a jerk knows not to inflict their roof-snow on the hapless driver stuck in traffic behind them. If you clear most of the snow from your car, sidewalks, and driveway the afternoon after a snowstorm, the next day those surfaces will be baked bare by the sun, even if it’s an otherwise cold day. But if you let snow accumulate from one snowstorm to the next, heaven help you when you do try to dig yourself out.
This morning I had to scrape about an inch of overnight ice and snow from my car before beginning my morning commute, and when I arrived on campus, I parked in a spot I knew would be sunny in the afternoon. When I return to my car tonight, I won’t have to clean it, and it will be ready for the weekend, when the forecast calls for yet another storm. Here in New England, we don’t take long to dig out from snowstorms because we know the next layer of winter precipitation is never far around the corner.