Thursday, January 17, 2013

Snow in Texas? What To Do In An Unexpected Snowstorm!

It's a beautiful warm sunny day here this afternoon, but I gather somewhere in Texas it snowed today.  I learned this reading a funny post on Insanity Rules about how you can know it's colder than usual here.    One thing she mentioned was having to go out and buy gloves, which reminded me of some past snows we've experienced here which we were utterly unprepared for.  And so I bring you...

TemStock - Santa's Hat

If you can't find any warm hats, try rummaging through your Christmas decorations.  A Santa hat will do in a pinch.  No Santa hats?  Baseball caps are better than nothing.

If you can't find gloves, several layers of socks work like mittens (although, like mittens, they become freezing soggy wet after being used to make a few snowballs).

Dish gloves, though not as warm, keep out the wet.  If you are willing to sacrifice a sock, you can cut off the end of the sock to make it fingerless/toeless, and layer it under a dish glove to keep the cold off your palm at least.

And yes, this is exactly how my kids were dressed one snowstorm in Texas.  We had real snow gear, but I couldn't find any of it.

How To De-Ice Your Car

Texifornian blogger A Dash of Sarah wrote another great post about the snow which she mentioned her momentary panic at seeing her car covered in it. Having grown up in the California moutains, I know a thing or two about getting ice off a car...I was helping my mom de-ice the car before I could even drive. So, for those who've never had to do's some tips:

  1. If the snow is nice and powdery its easy to brush off.  If it's wet those dish gloves may come in handy.  You only will have a problem if it's snow that's gotten wet and then frozen.  Then the tips below will help.
  2. If your car is covered in ice, it pays to sit in your car for a while with the engine running to warm it up--your car will drive better and it may make de-icing your car easier.  Or you can leave your car running while you set at trying to tackle the ice.
  3. If you don't have a car scraper, you can use a credit card to scrape frost off your window and rear-view mirrors.  A plastic spatula works too.   If it's a thick layor you may need to do some hacking (A credit card won't help too much here.  The edge of a plastic scraper is ideal--the edge of a hairbursh can sometimes work too.  Sometimes all it takes is a firm pound of your fist to break it up.  But if you're getting nowhere with these, refer to step 2.).
  4. DO NOT just clear off the window and drive with a big slab of ice on top of your roof...because at some point your car is going to warm up and it will start to melt and that big ole slab will either go crashing into the car behind you, or come crashing down your windshield when you stop, blocking your view.  
Now, if Texans are unprepared to dress for snow, they're even less prepared to drive in it.   But I'm not even going to attempt to explain that here (which involves things I've forgotton like which way to turn the wheel if you're caught in a skid).   But here's the short version:  Drive slow; don't break suddenly--pump you're breaks if you have to use them; and watch out for black ice, which just looks like water or nothing on the road.   Especially watch yourself on bridges and overpasses. Stay safe out there!  Enjoy the snow while it lasts!

(Thanks to Tamari 09 on flickr for the use of the santa hat.  I couldn't find the picture of my kiddo decked in a Santa hat in the snow so was very greatful for the substitute. )