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Massive Storm Buries US East Coast In Snow and Ice 290

First time accepted submitter anthonycarlson writes "The second wintry storm in two weeks to hit the normally balmy south U.S. has encrusted highways, trees and power lines in ice, knocking out electricity to nearly a half-million homes and businesses." Kids are out of school, and houses are out of power, in much of a region that normally gets much rarer and lighter snowfall. If you're socked in, or if you're in the East Coast storm zone but have to venture out anyhow, what's been your experience? Some of the pictures are pretty impressive. Update: 02/13 17:24 GMT by T : Google Maps has a handy guide to weather alerts, shelters, and traffic info for those affected by the storm. (Hat tip to Chris DiBona.)
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Massive Storm Buries US East Coast In Snow and Ice

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  • by Big Hairy Ian ( 1155547 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @10:30AM (#46237649)
    Kids making snowmen is considered geeky
  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @10:38AM (#46237727) Homepage Journal

    Americans need to toughen up. Cancelling work and school because of a bit of ice and snow? Oi, your forefathers who blazed the trails to the west and through the mountains must be spinning like tops in their graves.

    How well is your local government set up to handle hurricanes? Oh, they aren't, because you never get hit by hurricanes?

    Well, that's basically the issue in the South right now; perhaps you should go ahead and knock that chip of your shoulder.

  • by Nos. ( 179609 ) <andrew&thekerrs,ca> on Thursday February 13, 2014 @10:44AM (#46237777) Homepage

    As another poster said, this isn't fair. Lots of us drive with winter tires, I doubt anyone down there has even heard of them.

    We (most Canadians) have the equipment and machinery to clear snow, maintain highways, and the experience to get around in these conditions. They don't.

  • It's not the same (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yelvington ( 8169 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @10:48AM (#46237823) Homepage

    I lived through 14 Minnesota winters, and after a similar period in the South, I can say they're really not similar.

    Southern pines are spectacular, much taller than those typical in Minnesota, because they can grow for years without being beaten down by the weather. When once in a decade or so they get coated with ice, the result is chaos -- whole trees snapping five feet above ground, crashing through attics into living rooms, tearing down power lines along the way. It sounds like cannon fire echoing through the woods.

    The problems of winter hitting the South are not limited to lack of equipment, preparation, or winter driving skills. Nature just isn't ready for it.

  • by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @10:57AM (#46237889)

    I'm also in NY. I've lived in Central, Upstate and now Western NY. Without the plows and salt trucks, 90% of the people here wouldn't fare much better than those in Georgia. Why don't they have that equipment? You try explaining to taxpayers that they need to buy and maintain millions of dollars worth of equipment for a scenario that might not happen. It's the same reason we don't have a whole lot of equipment to handle hurricanes or earthquakes here. Sure, it could happen, but it's rare enough that it's not worth the money to put in a whole lot of preparation.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @11:07AM (#46237985) Homepage

    Americans need to toughen up. Cancelling work and school because of a bit of ice and snow?

    Right, because places which have palm trees and warmer climates are entirely prepared for stuff like this.

    Hell, I go to Myrtle Beach in the middle of winter to get away from winter here ... and I can assure you, snow and ice would happen infrequently enough to cause complete havoc, because it's a place where the golf courses are open year round.

    Not so long ago (1999) Toronto called in the army because they had a lot of snow -- if a Canadian city which normally gets winter can be crippled by it, imagine a place where snow and ice is a rare and exceptional event.

    Never underestimate just how much of a mess what we call a small amount of snow can cause in a place which doesn't normally have to deal with it.

    If you have alligators and palm trees, it doesn't take much to really throw stuff into disarray.

    Seriously, don't be a douche.

  • by mistapotta ( 941143 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @11:17AM (#46238081)

    This. When the ground temps hover around 40F, the snow melts quite easily. Then the air temps get in the 20's and water refreezes on the road. The ice is much more dangerous than the snow. That's why we close schools, businesses, etc.

    And it's not the dusting that we get annually. We can handle that. It's when we get 2-3 inches of precipitation that forms ice on our roads that makes it dangerous. We don't drive with bags of kitty litter in our trunks, or just whip out our chains when it gets dangerous. So we shut down. If its orchestrated well, it's a fun holiday we can all laugh about afterwards (See "The Snow" [] from San Antonio, 1985. If it's not orchestrated well, well... []

    We can all complain how people in other regions can't handle unconventional weather - Hurricanes in New York (don't build where it floods), 100F+ temps in the Midwest (install air conditioners), Snow in the deep south (buy more snowplows, chains, salt, sand, etc.) Yes, there are solutions that make the situations tenable. No, the capital investment for an event that happens every xx years isn't worth the financial losses from shutting down the city for the time it takes to deal with the situation.

  • by fredrated ( 639554 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @11:28AM (#46238173) Journal

    Just one warning: when the food supplies collapse due to global warming, we will eat the deniers like you first.

  • by Anonymous Codger ( 96717 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @11:43AM (#46238293)

    Silver Spring, here. Shovel now, like you suggest, and you'll have ice directly on the sidewalk and the car. Have fun with that! I'm waiting until it's over so the ice is on top of the snow where it's easy to remove.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 13, 2014 @11:52AM (#46238365)

    I'm in Wisconsin. We don't all have 4x4 drive, tire chains are ILLEGAL, I have no kitty litter in my trunk, and ice happens all the time. I drive a shitty little versa with 2 year old all-season tires, most people in Wisconsin drive normal 2 wheel drive cars, I drove into work in snow and white-out this morning and the plows have not even left the county garage yet. Made it in just fine, drove 10 under the speed limit, made sure to keep 5 car lengths away from the car ahead, and looked ahead for anyone slipping out in front of me.
    You people down south have this outsized idea of what a snowstorm is, and what we in the north do about it. Sure, a 1 foot overnight dump needs plows, and salt keeps the fender benders down.. However:
    In reality, the problem you have with this weather is not the temperature, the amount of ice, or your spending on road crews, amount of experience with snow.
    It is YOU.
    Almost to a person you don't drive safely even in good weather. I've been down there and even grandmas' tailgate on completely un-crowded roads. You speed to such a degree that when people go the posted speed limit you all totally go bonkers road rage.
    Hell, many people think you should be arrested for going the posted speed limit!
    I've been down south and saw in one day 10 cars/truck in the ditches because of RAIN. Fucking RAIN. You guys know what that is right? It happens, you know, as weather down there all the time?? Right?
    Slow the fuck down, start reducing speed half a block away from the stop sign or curve, look further ahead than your shitty wafflehouse coffee in your hand, stop tailgating, accelerate slowly, don't be Yee-Haww idiots.. Also, did I mention slow the fuck down?

  • Peace and quiet. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:03PM (#46238483)

    Kids making snowmen is considered geeky

    It's considered human.

    Storms on this scale test infrastructure to the limits --- and it is interesting to see how and why things break. Burying power lines not always the answer []

    As for beta boycotts and related matters: the comments posted to Slashdot may be fewer, but, on the whole, appear to me saner and more focused than any I've seen here in quite some time. I intend to enjoy this while I can.

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:49PM (#46238917)

    You never read Calvin & Hobbes, did you?

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @01:56PM (#46239443)

    Overhead lines are easier and cheaper to string up but can be taken out by vehicle crashes, trees (the main enemy of overheads) and ice. Plus they don't look as nice.

    Raised in the country, I always found the poles and overhead lines reassuring and with a kind of rhythm to them.

    Rose City Road []

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