Tuesday, February 11, 2014


The Do's and Don'ts of Winter Weather

In New Jersey we're used to large snow events. In fact, anything below 3 inches is referred to as a "dusting"" and anything below 6 inches is still "go out and drink" weather. But when 2 inches of ice shut down Atlanta, I figured they'd need some advice for their upcoming storm. So I compiled a list of DOs and DON'Ts to help guide them through the incredible hardship they're about to face.

DO rush to the grocery store and buy EVERYTHING! Seriously! This has nothing to do with your survival, but more of the grocery store's, the dairies' and the bakeries'. The spike in sales they get from a snow event in the North is relied upon, planned on and shows up favorably in their ledgers each fiscal year. They rely on this and having this occur in the South is like snow coming to Southtown in "Year Without a Santa Claus".

DON'T forget to bundle up. One key to staying warm is to wear a hat, but since most Southerners broadcast their preference for a NASCAR driver by wearing their number, their name or even their image on their trucker hats, this is not an issue. You're all good on this, but you need to pay attention to your fingers and toes. These are referred to as extremities because blood flow takes a while to get there and they can get cold, very cold, and take a while to warm back up. I know there are no winter gloves or such down there, but wearing the gloves you wear to the shooting range with your work gloves over top will certainly help. Wear two pairs of socks when pulling on your work boots, but don't forget to undo the cuff in your Levi's. This helps keep out the snow. 

DO go get a shovel. With the accumulation you're getting a good broom should work, but you're not going to get the full Snowpocalypse experience without shoveling. Home Depot and Lowe's will have snow shovels in stock on Saturday...that's not going to help you. So go to the nearest tack shop and get one of those shovels they use to clean out stalls. For those from New Jersey not from Colts Neck, a tack shop is where horse owners get stuff like saddles, bits, bridles and such. A horse shit shovel will be more than adequate for the amounts that you'll get there and similar style shovels are sold up here as snow shovels. 

DO NOT break out your flame thrower. Yes, I know that not ALL Southerners own flame throwers, but most own something similar or will attempt to pour gasoline on the snow to melt it. Melting snow when it's really cold only leads to the creation of ice which is a lot worse than snow. Break your tail bone by slipping and falling on ice and you'll know what I mean. Do the same on snow and you're just a klutz and more of an embarrassment to your family. 

DO be considerate of your neighbor and avoid throwing the snow and ice into their yard or, worse yet, across the street from their driveway. The 2 inch drift that you risk making could easily throw off their ability to navigate the treacherous hell that your street will become. Up North we call this etiquette.

DO NOT overfill your snow shovel or twist when you throw the snow and ice onto your neighbors yard. You know how it feels when you have to drag a 10-point buck to your Silverado that's parked on a dirt road a mile away. The tightening of the back muscles is very similar. The difference is that your reward does not include venison jerky. But now that I think of it, it will be very difficult to overfill a horse shit shovel with the amount of snow in your driveway, yard and your neighbors' driveways and yards combined. So have at it. 

DO shovel before you step. Stepping on snow compacts it into a mass that no shovel edge can get underneath. It is permanently affixed to whatever surface you stepped on until the Spring thaw which, luckily for you, is tomorrow at sunrise. 

DO NOT expect the shoveling to get easier as you go. The plows will deposit a nice load of snow and ice at the bottom of your driveway which takes considerable effort to clear as they will come around again when you're half way finished and deposit more. Wait. What am I saying? You have no idea what a plow is down there do you? Up here, it's not something behind a team of oxen used to furrow a field. It's a large salt-filled truck with a forged steel blade on the front used to remove snow from the roads. 

DO get something to improve traction. We use rock salt up here (aka halite), but that's not the same as the stuff in that round Morton's box. Again, your local Home Depot or Lowe's will get this on Saturday. In the meantime kitty litter and gravel will work. For your car, a 2X4 placed under the leading edge of a tire will provide some grip.

DO NOT be behind a vehicle with a 2X4 being used for traction.

DO have "that friend" stand behind the vehicle with a 2X4 being used for traction. Make sure you are filming it and please (oh please) be sure to post it on YouTube. 

DO NOT expect your windshield wipers to clear your windshield clean of snow. It's likely that they're frozen to your windshield and you'll only tear the blades if you try to use them. Up here, we replace our wiper blades at least once a year because of this. 

DO clear your vehicle of all snow and ice. We have had deaths up here due to chunks of flying ice. And you haven't felt an adrenaline rush until a tractor trailer dumps all the snow from the trailer onto your car, creating an ice blanket that your wipers can only effect from underneath causing you to roll down your window, depositing a ton of snow onto your lap, to stick your head out the window so you can see where you're going which then results in ice crystals forming in any facial hair you're sporting at the time. If the snow is powdery, a leaf blower works well. 

DO NOT eat the blue ice that comes out your windshield washer. It's not blueberry-flavored. We have windshield washer fluid up here that has antifreeze in it. I'm betting most Southerners just use water, but if you do use the blue stuff, it's toxic. It's not good to eat no matter how pretty a snow cone it may make. 

DO use your defrosters. What are those? There's a button on your temperature control center that you've never used before that looks a little like the symbol on your phone that denotes that you're connected to WiFi. Press it and you'll be able to see out your back window. Press the one next to the AC button and turn your fan up and you should be able to see out your windshield. 

DO NOT slam on your brakes. They are to be used sparingly. Doing so will only leave you careening off the highway. Yes, we know most of you good ol' boys own 4X4s but they're only as good as your tires and I'm not sure they sell any tires down there meant for traction in snow. So leave a nice gap between you and the car in front or you may slide right into that guy and be rewarded by your gun rack dislodging itself and slamming you in the back of the head. Yes, this means NO DRAFTING when there's ice on the ground. 

DO use your steering wheel in moderation. Never oversteer in the snow and ice, gradually guiding your car through any bends in the road. Any sudden movements can be disastrous, just as any sudden movements in your tree stand will spook the deer your have lined up in your sights.

DO NOT eat the yellow snow. More than likely it was created by your or your neighbor's bird dog and what emanates from them is not lemon-flavored. 

DO stock up on craft beer and top shelf spirits to help you deal with the fact that you live in a state that is crippled by 2 inches of snow and ice. Drink away the embarrassment. It's okay...we drink away many embarrassments up here...like our politicians and "Jersey Shore". For the record, those asshats are all from New York. 

DO NOT pay attention to those from New England, Minnesota, Alaska and Canada who make fun of people from New Jersey for considering a foot of snow a state of emergency. Actually you should; compared to those people, we're novices in the snow.

DO be safe!