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Before you move that snow…

Take a peek at the weather service forecast for your location over the next several days.

If like us, your area is predicted to get daily high temperatures only a few degrees warmer than freezing, you should know that the snow you need to move this morning is going to be sitting wherever you put it until the next warm day or heavy warm rain.

Think about that before you move it, for the easiest time to move heavy snows like this are when the snow is fresh and soft. If you shovel it into a pile, you have compacted it, and the pile will be harder to move if it is not where you want it. If you leave it sit, and it melts a little, then re-freezes, it will become frozen solid and be very difficult to move. We cannot count on the warmth of the sun melting this anytime soon according to the weather services; at least not in our area.

This is something we are not accustomed to in the Washington DC area. So plan ahead and think about where you will pile the pretty white snow. It’s going to be there for several days at least… Think about where it will be safest to locate the mounds of snow which will eventually melt and flood…

Get ALL your exits cleared and a path away from your home cleared so you can evacuate in case of fire.

If you are going to be driving, completely clear off your ENTIRE car, not just the windows. That giant pile of snow on your roof will come off and blind or damage the vehicle behind you; and it if is me, you can be sure I will crash you so I can get the person truly responsible for the accident. Please be responsible and completely clear ALL snow off your whole vehicle, especially if you drive a van or any vehicle with a large roof that collected lots of snow and ice.

Traction in this kind of snow is all about having some tread on your tires. The kind of vehicle does not matter. If you have a huge planet-killer 5000 with four wheel drive, if your tires are approaching bald, you will still have no traction. Don’t risk it, put on snow chains or winter/snow tires, or any tire with plenty of tread.

Snow this deep means that ground clearance is an issue, here trucks and taller vehicles do have an advantage; but please remember, height does NOT improve traction. You must slow down for bridges, exit ramps, and turns… and slow down well before any of those slippery areas.

Be safe out there folks, and plan ahead. I grew up in central New York where any snow we got would likely be with us the entire Winter season. Please treat this like one of those snow falls if you have a forecast of many days where it does not get warm enough to melt off.

Of course, if this all melts suddenly, there will be a whole different set of flooding problems…

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