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Old 01-30-2010, 10:08 AM
 
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Some of you may be familiar with the original Triangle Terms and Survival Guide: http://www.city-data.com/forum/raleigh-durham-chapel-hill-cary/796380-newcomer-triangle-terms-survival-guide.html

Because the region has closed down today due to snow, and I have nothing better to do, I thought I would create an addendum to the original guide to address snow-related terms and survival tips. This is geared toward people who have moved here from snowier regions.

1. Snow here is different than snow elsewhere. If you know how to drive in it elsewhere, big deal, so what, who cares. DO NOT drive in it here.

Because it snows so infrequently, the government does not spend its money on snow removal equipment and salt, so although they try their best with a slushy salt mixture they apply to the roads, if it snows, it's too dangerous for anyone to drive because the roads are still slippery.

Don't make fun of the people here about how they react to snowstorms. They have reasons for acting how they do; it's a different world here.

2. Stay off the roads unless you have an essential job that affects lives, such as a job in law enforcement or health care. Seriously.

3. Stay home and watch the local TV meteorologists go crazy with happiness that they can report on this rare weather event.

4. Know that every station puts reporters out on the roads, in miserable weather, so they can explain what the snow looks like, as if none of us has ever seen snow, or as if, for some reason, we are locked inside our homes and can't see it for ourselves.

The reporters always bend down, pick up the snow (videographers get the closeup), and attempt to explain what the snow is like.

The stations will report on the snow for hours on end, all the while bragging about their extensive coverage, and reporters will get very tired of explaining what snow is and what it feels like.

This morning, one reporter said, "It's white and snowy."

One news anchor (an NC native) supplied viewers with a photograph of his boot print in the slushy snow. Quite the excitement ensued! He also said his boots were new, and he'd probably wear them for three days and never again. He is probably right.

5. Realize that some TV reporters do not quite have "snow" terminology down. In the past, we've heard reporters call snowflakes "snow drops." I've heard them say that the snow is "pouring," instead of "falling."

6. Few TV reporters or other native NCers use the word "plow" as in "snow plow." They use the word "scrape" or "push."

7. While the snow is still in your yard, you or your children must absolutely make "snow angels" and make a snowman. This may be your last chance for many years.

8. Do not eat the snow. Just don't.

9. Take photos of the snow. You may not see it again for years. Keep the photos for yourself and don't send them to friends and relatives back in your home state; they will think you're crazy for sending photos of snow to them in the winter. They'll think, "Big deal. So what? Who cares? It's winter!"

10. Always have some food in your cupboard in case of adverse weather events such as snow storms or the very rare hurricane. Just because you live around the corner from Piggly Wiggly or wherever doesn't mean you can walk there and get what you need when it snows. The employees will have no way to safely travel to the store, so it will most likely be closed.

In 2000, two feet of snow fell in Raleigh, and it paralyzed the city for about a week. You should have enough food for at least that long. Canned foods last a long time.

In preparation, be sure your supplies include instant coffee to avoid caffeine-withdrawal headaches if the power goes out, and you can't make a cup of coffee. NCers traditionally buy milk and bread before a storm. I think instant caffeine is much more important.

If you need a refill on any prescription for the following week or so, make sure to get it before the predicted snowfall.

If you don't have a gas stove, you might want to buy a small camping stove to use outdoors. Don't forget fuel. Or use the grill you already have outdoors.

Get a manual can opener, too.

Keep the refrigerator and freezer closed if the power is out. For tips from the CDC about surviving a power outage: CDC | What You Need to Know When the Power Goes Out Unexpectedly Read it now, before your power goes out.

If you haven't yet bought a house here, having a gas stove is a wonderful thing. It works during a power outage.

11. Today, because of our "big" snowstorm, the malls and airport are closed. Everyone is encouraged to stay off the streets. Yes, I know, that's unheard of up North, where it snows regularly from November to March (sometimes October to May), but no one can handle the snow down here.

12. Do not worry about shoveling the snow. It usually melts within a day or two. If you buy a shovel, it might be several years before you use it again. If you have an essential job, you should, however, have one on hand.

13. Do not believe people who say you should fill up your bathtub with water in case the power goes out. Unless you plan to take a bath, don't do that. It makes no sense. (Note: Per the post below, this is true if you use city water. If you are on well water, filling up the tub with water in anticipation of a power outage is a good idea.)

14. As you are well aware, if we have an ice storm, there may be power outages when the heavy ice-laden tree limbs fall on power lines. So you should always have emergency supplies ready, such as a crank radio and crank flashlights. You'll never have to worry about being out of batteries if you get the crank versions. They make nice gifts for your kids at Christmas.

If you can afford a generator and have the space to store one, it's a great thing to have. Be safe and read the instructions.

15. If you are from a warmer climate and are not used to snow, and your power goes out, NEVER use a grill in the house or start a fire that is not vented (such as in a fireplace). It is not uncommon for entire families to die of carbon monoxide poisoning from such fires.

Here are more safety tips: Home Safety Council - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter (http://www.homesafetycouncil.org/SafetyGuide/sg_winter_w001.asp - broken link)

Unvented kerosene heaters are especially dangerous. Here is some information: How To Avoid Death From Unvented Heaters by Joel Hendon

BONUS TIPS:
a) If you expect a snowstorm, if you have a driveway, park your car(s) off the street and park them closest to the bottom of the driveway, near the street. This will reduce any shoveling you may need to do.
b) In a pinch, table salt will work to melt ice on your front steps.


Summary:


You're not in Kansas (or NJ, NY, New England, Minnesota, etc.) anymore. You're in the South. If it snows, just stay home until it melts. The life you save may be your own.

Last edited by lovebrentwood; 01-30-2010 at 11:03 AM..
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:13 AM
 
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Great tips.

You should have seen my prior home (New Orleans) when a few inches of snow fell one day in the 1980's.

Some drivers here fly by in the rain and hydroplane. Just shudder thinking of these fools in winter weather.
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:23 AM
 
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I would add that one thing that makes our snow different is that it's often very icy. And even when we get a beautiful powdery snow one day the next day it may melt in the sun and then refreeze as black ice overnight (very hard to see when attempting to drive). Of course we often get the "wintry mix" with sleet and freezing rain, too. Freezing rain is the worst since that's what will coat the trees and bring them down on the power lines.

The thing about filling your tub with water is for people on wells. If the power goes out the power to the pump for the well goes out so their water goes out, too. If you're on city water it's not something you would really need to worry about. The water authorities have generators on hand in emergencies.
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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I'd always thought of filling up the bathtub with water as a hurricane prep thing? I remember hearing about that more when there was a hurricane headed our way than a snowstorm. The idea of drinking water that's been sitting in the bathtub is....disgusting. Also don't forget to mention to parents that they can expect their kids to be out of school (roughly) for one day per inch.
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:35 AM
 
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This CDC link explains water safety during a power outage. It makes no sense to fill a bathtub for hurricanes, either, unless you use well water (because the electric water pump wouldn't work): CDC | What You Need to Know When the Power Goes Out Unexpectedly Because most municipal water treatment plants have backup power, I don't think there is any need to worry about water safety or water availability.

One day out of school per inch of snow? Never heard that one in all the time I've been here. I don't think so. It can snow two inches, and the next day, it can be VERY warm. So that rule of thumb doesn't seem to make any sense to me. It snows so infrequently here, I don't even know how such a formula could have evolved.


Quote:
Originally Posted by I'minformed2 View Post
I'd always thought of filling up the bathtub with water as a hurricane prep thing? I remember hearing about that more when there was a hurricane headed our way than a snowstorm. The idea of drinking water that's been sitting in the bathtub is....disgusting. Also don't forget to mention to parents that they can expect their kids to be out of school (roughly) for one day per inch.
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:52 AM
 
477 posts, read 1,236,892 times
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Quote:
In preparation, be sure your supplies include instant coffee to avoid caffeine-withdrawal headaches if the power goes out, and you can't make a cup of coffee. NCers traditionally buy milk and bread before a storm. I think instant caffeine is much more important.
Don't underestimate the importance of this one if you or your spouse are a coffee drinker!
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
10,323 posts, read 18,664,326 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovebrentwood View Post

8. Do not eat the snow. Just don't.
I have to disagree with this one: What's a good snow without SNOW CREAM!?

Best made the day of the snowfall, however. Day-old snow is yucky.
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Old 01-30-2010, 11:02 AM
 
9,680 posts, read 23,488,687 times
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Betcha the birthrate will surge 9 months from today.
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Old 01-30-2010, 11:10 AM
 
6,185 posts, read 13,846,249 times
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That seems to be a Southern thing as well as a New England thing.

Blecchhh!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Francois View Post
I have to disagree with this one: What's a good snow without SNOW CREAM!?

Best made the day of the snowfall, however. Day-old snow is yucky.
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Old 01-30-2010, 11:12 AM
 
6,185 posts, read 13,846,249 times
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What made you think of that, saturnfan? Hmmmm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by saturnfan View Post
Betcha the birthrate will surge 9 months from today.
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