I complain about Indiana winters, but that’s because during my 1970s and 1980s South Bend kidhood I shoveled enough snow to last a lifetime and it soured me on the whole season. Lake Michigan being only 20 miles away, lake-effect snow squalls dump more than 80 inches of snow on the city in an average year. 80 inches! That’s more than many cities you might associate with winter weather. Anchorage gets 71 inches on average. Toronto gets 52 inches. Milwaukee gets 47 inches. Minneapolis gets just 45 inches, the piker. (Syracuse, New York, gets 117 inches. Props to Syracuse.)
Indianapolis gets less than 30 inches of snow in an average year, almost all of it falling in December, January, and February. We get one or two good dumpings a season. It’s not enough to justify buying a snow blower! I’d spend as much time maintaining its engine every year as I’d spend clearing snow with it.
We’ve had three good snows in the past couple weeks, leaving about a foot on the ground. These snows would have been non-events in South Bend, but here they’re big deals. TV news went wall-to-wall on the weather. I swear they covered every snowflake as it fell. And it’s not officially a winter storm until all the local stations have interviewed the mayor live from the salt barn.
You see, we don’t get enough snow here for the city to justify a serious snow-removal budget. The main roads are cleared, but many side roads and most neighborhoods (like mine) remain snow covered. And it doesn’t snow often enough that people build good snow driving skills, and most drivers compensate by just creeping along. So even when we get just a light dusting, the main roads are thick with overly cautious traffic. The first time it snowed this year, my 20-minute commute took 90 minutes, 30 of which were at a dead stop. The more it snows, the greater the delay; once, after a six-inch snowfall, my commute took four and a half hours.
So I try to watch the forecasts and plan ahead. Whenever I know it’s going to snow, I bring my laptop home with me from work. I can be productive anywhere there’s wireless Internet! It sure beats fighting the traffic.
When I lived in Terre Haute, we got a lot of ice storms. Check out some photos I took after one blew through.